Early in her LSU gymnastics career, Lloimincia Hall dreamed she would get the opportunity end her career where it started: in her home state of Texas.
At the time, Hall figured that was pretty unlikely considering not many Lone Star schools — particularly the biggies like Texas and Texas A&M — don’t sponsor women’s gymnastics.
But just before the NCAA championships last year, Hall found out the 2015 nationals would be held in Fort Worth, Texas, where she spent a lot of time competing for club teams while growing up in nearby Dallas.
It didn’t take long for the good news to spread to fellow Texan Jessie Jordan.
“I heard about it from Lloimincia,” Jordan said. “She was like, ‘Yea, it’s going to be in (Fort Worth).’ She was so excited, and I got pretty pumped up, too.”
So, two of LSU’s three senior All-Americans will try to steer the fourth-ranked Tigers into the Super Six finals for a school-record third consecutive when they return home Friday night.
The top three teams from two semifinal sessions will qualify for the Super Six on Saturday night in the Fort Worth Convention Center. The ultimate goal for Hall and Jordan, of course, is to help LSU to its first national title in the arena where they cut their gymnastics teeth.
If it happened in Texas, a hotbed for the sport at the high school and club levels, it would be even sweeter.
“This is a wonderful way to end my career,” Hall said. “When I found out the nationals were coming to Texas, I was very emotional about it. It’s awesome because I get a chance to compete for a wonderful team in front of so many individuals that helped me along the way.”
That means there will be plenty of family members, former coaches and friends in the stands cheering for Hall, the nation’s top-ranked all-arounder, and Jordan, who ranks third in balance beam and fifth in floor exercise.
“It’s not only going to be my immediate family there, but a lot of coaches and little girls that I’ve tried to pave the way for,” Hall said. “I try to tell them they can make it no matter what.
“There’s nothing like going home,” she said. “I’m a proud Texas gymnast. I grew up in that arena, so to be able to look up and say, ‘This is ending where I began,’ is exciting. The last time I salute (the judges) will be when everything comes full circle for me.”
Jordan grew up in Houston, where her parents still reside, but she spent a year training in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“It’s very special to be going home for my final meet,” she said. “It’s really extra special because all my family gets to come. My grandparents don’t fly, so they’ll be able to drive up. They’ve been a huge part of my gymnastics career and such a huge part of my support system, so they’ll be able to come and enjoy my last meet as much as I will.
“I lived in Dallas for a year and trained there, so a lot of my close friends and a lot of special people live there as well.”
Of course, both have been back to the area several times with LSU.
The Tigers competed in the Metroplex Challenge each of their four years — including earlier this year when LSU fell to defending champion Oklahoma. But this visit will be a lot different.
“This is a huge meet, of course, but it has to be just another meet for us,” Jordan said. “We have to treat it the same and compete the same way. But at the same time, it’s really cool that we’ve already competed there.
“We know the setup, we know the equipment.”
Jordan established a career-high all-around score of 39.675 with a 10.00 on vault in a March 6 meet against Minnesota, which was her final appearance in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
She also won the all-around title in the NCAA Ames regional two weeks ago, but topping her career-best score in her final meet in her home state would be the perfect way to go out.
“That would be a great feeling, and winning a national champion would be icing on the cake,” Jordan said.
“It’s been an incredible four years here — especially the last three,” she added. “I think about how amazing thsee four years have been and how our team and this program has been able to grow, and all the accomplishments we’ve had. I’m proud of how far we’ve come.”
Like senior Rheagan Courville, another All-American and Baton Rouge native who helped form the nucleus of this team, LSU coach D-D Breaux is proud of what her two Texas natives have helped her team accomplish.
“I love recruiting Texas kids,” Breaux said. “They’ve historically come to LSU and done a great job for us. The other kids see it and they see the success we’ve had over the years. That says a lot.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.