Sarah Finnegan, the two-time NCAA Champion, two-time Southeastern Conference Gymnast of the Year and one of the greatest student-athletes in school history, has been named LSU’s nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.
The award is focused on four pillars, which includes academics, athletics, service and leadership. LSU volunteer coach Ashleigh Clare-Kearney won the award in 2009 and Ashleigh Gnat was also the school’s nominee in 2017.
“Sarah Finnegan exemplifies everything this award honors,” head coach D-D Breaux said. “Her accolades in the gym speak for itself, but it’s the impact she has left on this program and in this community that mean the most to me. There are so many great student-athletes on this campus and, I am proud that we can honor Sarah with this nomination.”
Finnegan won the SEC all-around title and was named the Central Region Gymnast of the Year in both 2018 and 2019. She was honored with the AAI Award, which goes to the top senior gymnast in the nation and considered the sport’s Heisman Trophy.
The Lee’s Summit, Missouri, native rewrote the LSU history books in her four years in Baton Rouge with 95 individual wins in 212 routines competed in that span. Finnegan became the first LSU gymnast in school history to win an NCAA championship on bars when she did it in 2017.
Finnegan finished her career as a 23-time All-American to tie for the most in school history. One of the best beam workers ever at LSU, Finnegan set the career record for titles on the event with 27.
A five-time SEC champion, Finnegan won three tiles at the league meet earlier this year. She finished her career tied for the most in school history. Finnegan earned six perfect scores in her career – two on bars, beam and floor. She is the second gymnast in school history to earn a perfect score on three events.
Finnegan save her best performances for 2019 as a dominating force in the all-around all year. Finnegan competed all four events in 16 of 17 meets and earned 14 wins to shatter a new school record. She also set the LSU single-season record for beam titles with 11.
One of the most remarkable records of her illustrious career is the 49 individual titles in 2019. The original record was set by Sandra Smith in 1980 and tied in 2010 by April Burkholder. No other LSU gymnast since Burkholder has won more than 30 titles in a season.