The LSU Gymnastics team kicked off the season on the road on January 5, 2007 in Fayetteville, Arkansas with the Super Six Challenge. The Super Six Challenge was held at the Barnhill Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Opponents included top 10 powerhouses Florida and Nebraska and other top ranked teams of Penn State, Arkansas, Denver, and of course the 9th ranked LSU Tigers.
The Tigers got off to an excellent start on the Vault in the first rotation with Ashleigh Clare-Kearney setting the pace with a perfect 10.0 score. The rotation ended with a 6th highest score on Vault in school history with a 49.450. The Tigers sat out on the second rotation on a bye and returned for the third rotation on bars. The team held on to thier first place score with a score of 48.850 on bars with Florida close behind.
The fourth rotation put the Tigers on Beam where they met a few difficulties staying on the beam and ended the rotation with a disappointing 47.350, which dropped them to third place in the standings behind Florida and Nebraska. The Tigers sat out on the 5th rotation for a second bye as Penn State moved up to third place.
The sixth rotation on the floor also posed some unexpected deductions for the Tigers as they had several deductions for going of out of bounds. The Tigers scored 48.475 on the Floor led by Kristi Esposito, a Junior.
Super Six Challenge
1. Florida – 196.500
2. Nebraska – 195.200
3. Penn State – 194.575
4. LSU – 194.125
5. Denver – 192.975
6. Arkansas – 192.800
LSU begins the 2007 season having the most difficult schedule in the nation as judged by the Preseason Coaches Poll, as they face 5 of the top 10 opponents during the regular season. Georgia, ranked #1; Florida, #3; and Nebraska, #7 will compete in the LSU Pete Maravich Assembly Center on home territory against the Lady Tigers, while Alabama and Stanford will be tough road trips for the team. Georgia followed in the poll and comes into the season as the defending SEC and NCAA champions. Rounding out the top five are Florida, Alabama and UCLA.
The LSU Gymnastics team consists of Nicki Butler, Kelley Phelan, Lisa Rennie, Seniors; Ashley Clare-Kearney, Emily Ellis, Kristi Esposito, Juniors; Lauren Klein, Amanda Morales; Sophomores and Sabrina Franceschelli, Summer Hubbard, Susan Jackson, Kala Rogers and Yvette Triay; Freshman. All gymnasts on the team except for one member, Lisa Rennie, are all-around competitors.
When this talented team is not working out in the gym, you may find them out doing community service. They have been honored with the LSU Champs Community Service Award for the past two years for their community involvement with the YWCA’s Pink Ribbon Campaign for Breast Cancer, St. Jude’s Hospital, Muscular Dystrophy Association, and the Alzheimer’s Association.
The LSU Gymnastics team is coached by D-D Breaux, who is entering her 30th year as Head Coach at LSU. Coach Breaux has been awarded SEC Coach of the Year 5 times and honored with the NCAA Coach of the Year Award 3 times in her career at LSU. She brings a high level of enthusiasm to her team in her personality and love of gymnastics. Coach Breaux has had the honor of her team members placing on the SEC Academic Honor Roll 106 times and athletes have been chosen for the Academic All-Americans on at least 80 occasions. Her focus on academics has made her one of the most outstanding coaches across the United States with talented athletes and high academic success rates.
Assistant Coaches are Bob Moore, the 2005 NCAA Central Region Co-Assistant Coach of the Year and Phillip Ogletree, sharing in the honors of the 2005 NCAA Central Region Co-Assistant Coach of the Year.