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Gym Opens The 2020 Season Tonight

Rebuilding? Breaux laughs at the concept

2019 NCAA Division I Women’s Gymnastics Championship
Back, baby
Photo by Timothy Nwachukwu/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Football isn’t the only national championship caliber team on campus. It’s time to remind everyone that this is now a #GymSchool. The new season opens tonight at home against Arizona.

After last year’s runner up finish, the third in four years, this is a season of slightly more tempered expectations, not that DD Breaux would ever admit that.

One of the greatest athletes in LSU history in Sarah Finnegan exiting stage right would be a big blow, but the additional losses of McKenna Kelly, Lexie Priessman, and Julianna Cannamela will cut deep. This is the greatest recruiting class in the school’s history, and their absence will absolutely be felt.

Now, give DD Breaux and new co-head coach Jay Clark some credit They have brought in a recruiting class as highly regarded as the one exiting now. The thing is, even great gymnasts like Kelly and Finnegan took some time to develop.

Kiya Johnson won the 2018 all-around title at the Junior Olympics and Kai Rivers took home the all-around title at the 2017 Nastia Liukin Cup. These are some killer recruits, but still… they will be freshmen. And freshmen will make mistakes as they transition to college competition.

However, let’s not pretend the cupboard is barren.

Kennedi Edney, the two-time defending NCAA vault champion returns for her senior season and will anchor the squad. Ruby Harrold will expand her repertoire to three rotations after spending most of her time in Baton Rouge as our bars specialist.

Reagan Campbell closed last season as one of our most reliable beam and floor routines, and both Sami Durante and Christina Desiderio contributed two routines in the Four on the Floor NCAA Finals. This team has depth covered, as it returns 14 of its 20 Finals routines.

The question is where the big monster scores will come from outside of Edney. The team is counting on Kiya Johnson to be a star right away, and that strikes me as optimistic. Then again, she doesn’t need to be amazing tonight, she needs to be amazing in April. There’s time to adjust.

It’s a transition year for the Tigers, but they are still the #2 team in the country, and it’s simply a matter of making it to the finals. From there, anything can happen. LSU are the underdogs this year, but they are still contenders for that elusive national title.

Join the team tonight at the PMAC at 7:15. Or, if you can’t make it or live out of state like me, tune into the SEC Network+ stream at 7:35 to cheer on the Tigers in their season opener.