With only one competition in the books, the LSU gymnastics team isn’t going to get caught up in the numbers at this early stage of the season.
But there’s nothing wrong with trying to improve on what the Tigers did in opening the season last Friday with an easy victory over Iowa in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
LSU (1-0) posted the second-highest score in the nation on the opening weekend of the season with a 197.125 with senior Jessie Jordan producing an all-around score of 39.550 — the highest score in the country.
While the numbers were impressive, LSU coach D-D Breaux and her team know it was just a start to a long season.
Which is why LSU, which moved up one spot to second in the GymInfo standings, will be out to build on it Friday night in a tri-meet at Kentucky. In addition to taking on Kentucky in what counts as the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams, the Tigers will take on No. 20 Arizona State.
“It’s definitely a long season, so we’re not thinking about numbers,” Jordan said. “Being first in the all-around is nice, but it’s early.
“It feels good because it reiterates how hard I worked in the preseason and how hard our team worked in the preseason, but what’s more important is that we build on it each week.”
LSU will try to do that after scoring at least a 197.000 for the 14th consecutive meet. The Tigers ended the 2014 season with a 197 or better in 13 competitions in a row, which helped them to a third-place finish in the NCAA Super Six finals — their highest finish at nationals in program history.
They certainly showed no sign of letting up in their 2015 opener.
“We wanted to create the perception throughout the country that we are the real deal,” Breaux said. “We did that in the opener. Our student-athletes competed with a tremendous amount of intensity and confidence, and while there were mistakes, we managed to bounce back and overcome adversity very well.”
LSU was solid in the uneven bars, posting the highest score in the nation with a 49.600. The Tigers also rank second on the balance beam with a 49.325, sixth on vault with a 49.225 and seventh on floor exercise with a 48.975.
Jordan earned SEC Gymnast of the Week honors after winning the all-around title last week. She also ranks second nationally on beam and floor and is fourth on bars.
Teammate Rheagan Courville also got her senior season off to a good start and is tied for third in the nation with an opening-night score of 39.450. A two-time NCAA vault champion, Courville leads the bars rankings after scoring a 9.975 last week and is 10th on vault and 18th on beam.
Six other LSU athletes — including senior Lloimincia Hall — are ranked among the nation’s top 25 individuals in at least one event.
“We have many little things we need to improve on, and this meet is a great opportunity for us to go out and show that improvement,” Breaux said.
Lee to report for SEC Network
Former LSU gymnast Ashley Lee will debut as a reporter on the SEC Network when LSU hosts Missouri at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23 in the Maravich Center.
A two-time All-American on vault for the Tigers, Lee competed at LSU for Breaux from 2009-12 and was a part of the 2009 Super Six squad.
Lee, a two-time scholastic All-American, earned her bachelor’s degree from LSU in sports administration in May 2012 and is on pace to earn her master’s degree in mass communication at LSU in May.