No. 11 LSU Gymnastics ready for NCAA Championships
POSTED: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 10:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 3, 2012 - 9:31pm
BATON ROUGE, LA — The 11th-ranked LSU gymnastics team is poised to compete in Semifinal I of the NCAA Championships Friday. The meet begins at 11 a.m. CT inside Gwinnett Arena against No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 6 Nebraska, No. 7 Utah and No. 10 Stanford.
Live audio is available free of charge on www.LSUsports.net/live with “Voice of LSU Gymnastics” Mike Smith on the call, and he will be joined by two-time national champion Ashleigh Clare-Kearney and Sara Pollock.
Links to free live video courtesy of the NCAA and live stats are also available by visiting www.LSUsports.net.
LSU (14-12) hopes to finish in the top three in the semifinal to earn a berth in the NCAA Super Six Finals, the national championship meet that begins at 3 p.m. Saturday. LSU seeks its third appearance in the Super Six after qualifying in 2008 and 2009.
“We are excited to compete for our goal of advancing to the Super Six,” head coach D-D Breaux said. “Our preparation and approach between regionals and nationals has been outstanding, and I believe we have what it takes to be a Super Six team. This team is as good as any of the best teams we have ever had, but they are just really young and inexperienced at nationals.”
LSU brings fresh faces to the championships as only four of 15 Tigers have competed at the NCAA Championships – Kaleigh Dickson as an individual competitor last year, Ericka Garcia and Shelby Prunty in 2010 and Ashley Lee in 2009 and 2010.
Rheagan Courville and Jessie Jordan enter the meet having competed in every event in every meet this season, while fellow freshman Lloimincia Hall has competed in all but two events, missing vault and bars at Washington on Feb. 17.
Those three and Lee enjoyed much success in Gwinnett Arena on March 24 at the SEC Championship when the four gymnasts earned All-SEC honors to lead the team.
In fact, LSU is the only team in Semifinal I that has competed in this arena this season because the four other SEC squads that qualified for the NCAA Championships will compete in Semifinal II.
The last time LSU competed in Gwinnett Arena the Tigers posted the third-best road score of the year with a 196.425 at the SEC Championship, tallying a 49.000 or better in three events.
Heading into the NCAA Championships LSU received mixed news as Jordan injured her ankle and elbow in practice last week and might not be available to compete in every event. However, Sarie Morrison should be available in the vault lineup after only competing on bars most of the season. Morrison is a 2011 All-SEC vaulter that ranked 16th nationally in the event with a 9.890 regional qualifying score last year, but she has been limited to bars most of the season after having foot surgery in January.
Fans can also follow along with live updates during the meet on www.Facebook.com/lsugym and @LSUgym on Twitter during the meet.