Having just seen the completion of its sparkling new practice facility, the LSU gymnastics team is still in building mode.
Some experience against a highly ranked foe here. A new move or routine there. Perhaps a tweaked rotation for No. 6-ranked LSU in Friday night’s meet with No. 8 Auburn that if all goes well may stand through the important postseason meets in March and April.
“In gymnastics it’s about improving our score,” coach D-D Breaux said. “Getting the lineup right. We feel our lineup (Friday) is the closest to what we want to do all year long.”
Pre-meet ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. inside the Pete Maravich Assembly Center, with first vault set for 7:30 p.m.
The meet will be televised live on the SEC Network.
Last time out at home, LSU (7-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) posted a season-best score in beating then No. 8 Arkansas 197.425-196.150. The Tigers lost last week at No. 11 Georgia 197.525-196.800, but LSU’s score was still its best in an away meet this season.
For that reason, Breaux isn’t bothered by finishing second in a meet as she focuses on shaping her young team.
“We lost three kids who represented nine 9.9s” off last year’s team, Breaux said. “This team has no clue. They just hit the ground running. They’re very positive, upbeat and in the moment.”
One change Breaux is planning is pulling Sarah Finnegan, a highly touted freshman from Missouri, out of the all-around four-event rotation and have her focus just on three events.
“We hope that we can take Sarah Finnegan out of the all-around and hopefully put her in three events instead of four to get her clicking again,” Breaux said. “That’s our future, this freshman class, and people like Ashleigh Gnat and Sydney Ewing. Those kids are fabulous.”
LSU will be going for its 20th straight home win dating to the beginning of the 2014 season against an Auburn team (5-4, 2-3 SEC) riding high after snapping a 117-meet losing streak against in-state archrival Alabama last week, 197.275-197.250.
Both teams are ranked in the Top 25 on all four events. LSU is No. 2 nationally on vault, No. 7 on floor, No. 9 on bars and No. 13 on beam. Auburn is No. 7 on vault, No. 8 on bars, No. 10 on floor and No. 16 on beam.
LSU also has seven gymnasts ranked in the top 25 in at least one category, led by sophomore Myia Hambrick and Gnat in three categories each.
Tickets are available for $2. LSU will give away gymnastics team trading cards, and an autograph session will follow the meet.
Follow Scott Rabalais on Twitter, @RabalaisAdv.