When at California’s San Mateo Gymnastics, Erin Macadaeg estimates she trained anywhere from 35-40 hours per week. Competing as an “elite gymnast,” there was no other way. It was the status quo and led to Macadaeg’s placement on the 2014 Level 10 Junior Olympic National Team.
Now a freshman at LSU, NCAA rules cut Macadaeg’s training time in half. It mandates the LSU gymnastics program can only practice for 20 hours per week.
What’s Macadaeg doing with her free time?
“I’m pretty sure in theaters right now, we’ve seen all of them,” adds classmate and roommate Myia Hambrick. The two live in an apartment with fellow freshman Kylie Moran.
“We actually get along very well,” Macadaeg said. “We haven’t fought — yet. We share everything, go grocery shopping together practically do everything together. The three of us work together so well.”
Hambrick got to campus this summer, so she tried to impart the little she knew about the program to her two roommates. The rest was gleaned through experience, aided by the already-growing chemistry among the trio.
“It’s interesting to be able to figure things out together,” Hambrick said. “Since we’re not at home, none of us feel like we’re being ‘mothered’ by anyone. If we were living with someone older, maybe sometimes that would happen.”
Cast in prominent roles back in the gym, Hambrick and Macadaeg have given the No. 3 Tigers a youthful boost during their torrid 2015 season, though it didn’t come without some growing pains.
Hambrick, coached by her mother, Laurie, at West Georgia Gymnastics, laughed as she recalled club meets with hardly 150 spectators and an individualized atmosphere.
Transitioning to a raucous Pete Maravich Assembly Center, now consistently filled with more than 10,000 fans, nerves set in. Hambrick competed the all-around in her first collegiate meet against Iowa, stumbling to a 38.300 after falling during her last two routines on beam and floor.
“I think everyone knows I was a little bit nervous in the beginning,” Hambrick laughed. “It’s a little nerve-wracking at first, but I think after the first or second time I was in the PMAC … I started learning how to play to the crowd and not feel so overwhelmed. I’ve gotten past the whole newness of it.”
Since the falls, Hambrick bounces in and out of the all-around lineup alongside seniors Rheagan Courville and Jessie Jordan, though her performance in the win against Minnesota was evidence of her progression.
Hambrick either set or tied a career high on all four events against the Golden Gophers, posting a 39.575 — the Southeastern Conference’s highest all-around score for a true freshman in 2015.
“She makes things in her head bigger than they are sometimes,” coach D-D Breaux said. “We’re trying to get her mental approach to what she’s doing as focused as her physical approach. Because physically, she’s a total package.”
Macadaeg, performing mostly as a beam specialist, averages a 9.781 on the event and set a career high with a 9.950 against Georgia on Feb. 6.
Though she was adamant Macadaeg could do more, Breaux said the contributions the 4-foot-9 newcomer gives on beam are exactly what the team needs — not that it came as a shock.
“She’s, like myself — very, very hard working,” Hambrick said. “Everyone in the gym can see her beam is flawless every single day, so none of us were really surprised she could do that week after week.”