The final floor routine of her illustrious career complete, and with her sixth perfect 10 flashing in the background, Lloimincia Hall called her four senior counterparts to the center of the floor.
They joined hands and saluted the school-record crowd of 13,179. It roared in approval. The underclassmen hit their knees and bowed down to the quintet.
“They are leaders inside the gym and outside the gym in anything they do,” freshman Myia Hambrick said. “It was us showing our gratitude. You’ve taught us so much, and now we’re going to carry on. It was great to send them off with that.”
Hall’s perfect score was the self-described “icing on the cake” for a dominant performance on senior night, where two other seniors notched perfect scores and No. 2 LSU defeated Minnesota 198.375-195.450 in the PMAC.
Seniors Rheagan Courville and Jessie Jordan were perfect on vault, where only one LSU gymnast scored below a 9.90. The Tigers tallied the nation’s best event score with a 49.825 to open the meet — shattering the previous school record of 49.650.
“To start out strong is something we need to do in the postseason. We’ve kind of been building toward that,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “It was very exciting and gratifying for (vault coach) Bob (Moore).”
It was the first time in LSU gymnastics history a team scored two perfect 10s in one vault rotation and the first time since 2003 the Tigers had two perfect scores in any rotation. April Burkholder and Terin Martinjak scored 10s in one beam rotation in a 2003 victory against Centenary.
Courville, who did not compete in the all-around, wrapped up her LSU home career on the uneven bars with a 9.925 and a stuck landing.
“It was perfect,” Courville said. “Everyone did exactly what we planned to do. We came in with such excitement and enthusiasm and pride in what we’re doing and did it in front of an amazing crowd. We still have a lot left to do this season and this brought our confidence up.”
On a night so devoted to the seniors, underclassmen didn’t miss a beat. Sophomore Ashleigh Gnat captured the all-around title, only the second of her career, edging Jordan and Hambrick.
It was Gnat who set the table for Hall on floor, scoring a career-high 9.975, missing another perfect score by one step on a landing.
Hambrick tied or set a new career high on all four events and was a shoulder tilt away from scoring a 10 on balance beam, according to Breaux.
“We’ve got to get this much better between now and then,” Breaux said, moving her index finger and thumb close together. “That’s how much better I expect us to get between now and SECs.”
The crowd of 13,197 out-drew the actual attendance of LSU basketball’s 71-69 loss to No. 1 Kentucky in February. Told of the feat, Gnat’s jaw dropped. The meet was also the first sellout in LSU gymnastics history.
“We did good,” Hambrick whispered.
But it was Courville who spoke for the three. Remembering her first meet as a Tiger, when LSU scored 192.550 in Cancun, Mexico, she struggled to adequately illustrate how her class revitalized the program.
“Started from the bottom and did it together,” Courville said to a few laughs. “My confidence in myself and everyone around me has been altered by the standard LSU has set for every competitor. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to make it better.”
“We mean business this year,” Courville said. “We want everybody to believe it with us and follow us. It’s amazing to have everybody notice how hard we’ve worked.”