Let's all take a moment to appreciate just how amazing this team is, and just how quickly it got there.
In 2011, before the current senior class stepped foot on campus, LSU finished fifth in the SEC. The team scored a respectable 195.350 in the regionals, finishing third and failing to advance to the nationals. It was a fine ending for a pretty good team, albeit one that was not competing for national or SEC titles.
Then the trio of Rheagan Courville, Lloimincia Hall, and Jessie Jordan showed up. LSU moved to 4th in the SEC, no small accomplishment given the presence of Super Six regulars in the conference, with a 196.425. The team advanced past the regionals and made the NCAA championships, finishing 6th out of 6 in their half of the competition, failing to advance to the Super Six. Still, an amazing year by LSU's traditional standards.
The last two seasons have ended with a trip to the Super Six, and individual national titles for Rheagan Courville. The class expanded its ranks to include Britney Ranzy and Scarlett Williams. And now, LSU's season goals are not to just make the Finals or even qualify for the Super Six, but to win the whole thing. Seemingly overnight, DD Breaux has built this program into a national power.
The foundation of that is this senior class. The core three of Courville, Hall, and Jordan have transformed LSU gymnastics from a pretty good squad that competed hard into a powerhouse program, drawing over 13,000 fans rocking the PMAC.
Those 13,179 fans turned out to say thank you to one of the all-time great recruiting classes in any sport to wear the purple and gold. The senior class returned the favor by dropping the biggest score in program history. We say "Thank you," they say "You're welcome."
LSU opened up the night with a near perfect vault rotation. LSU scored a 49.825 on the first rotation, opening up a 1.125 point lead over Minnesota. This meet was over from the start, and not because the Gophers had a poor night. The lowest qualifying score on the vault rotation was a 9.925. Oh, and both Courville and Jordan posted perfect 10's.
The meet hit its fever pitch, where else? On the floor exercise. The team kept smashing individual records, as four LSU gymnasts either tied or broke their own personal record, including Hall's evening ending performance of a perfect 10, the third on the night.
By this time, it was apparent LSU was re-writing the record book. On their last home meet, the seniors led the charge to a new school scoring record: 198.375. A record score for a record crowd.
This was an epic performance on an epic night. The team rose to the occasion and saved itse best performance of the season for the biggest stage. Hopefully, that's the kind of performance they can bottle up and save for the postseason. But right now, all signs point to this team peaking at the perfect time.
The seniors took their final bow on the home mat, going out in style. But as great as a performance as they turned out, with each of the three four-year seniors all posting a perfect 10 on one rotation, the best sign for this program was in the all-around. The individual champ for the meet was Ashleigh Gnat, a sophomore.
This may be the seniors last ride, but the train will keep a-rolling.