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LSU gymnastics always makes me cry

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I feel the need to preface everything I say here with a personal fact: I’m not a cryer. Happy, sad, mad, emotional, whatever, I’m not one to cry at much of anything. So no matter how much I love sports, and LSU sports in particular, I can count on one hand the times they’ve made me cry for any reason.

And unlike my colleagues here at AndTheValleyShook dot com, I’m going to tell y’all about a ~happy moment~ that still made me crying.

I have often mentioned I would die for LSU gymnastics coach D-D Breaux, so it’s no shock that my pick in the 2019 Four on the Floor, which is basically the Final Four for college gymnastics.

That 2019 team was one of the best in program history, notching a third straight Southeastern Conference title and adding multiple All-America and All-SEC honors. Being led by a phenomenal senior class of Lexie Priessman, Sarah Finnegan, McKenna Kelley and Julianna Cannamela only added to the potential.

The meet went the way any other quad meet goes, as the Tigers rotated through the four apparatuses, trailing the Oklahoma Sooners and Maggie Nichols for most of the meet. LSU finished with a score of 197.8250.

LSU didn’t win, and instead added a third national runner-up title in four years.

That didn’t matter to the gymnasts or Breaux herself. Yeah, a national championship is always the goal, but something about this program always feels sort of like a feel-good Disney Channel Original Movie where they saw something cheesy about how, in the end, all that matters is that memories we made along the way.

That’s a long-winded way for me to say that, yeah it’s upsetting that the Tigers couldn’t secure the first national championship in program history, it was more upsetting to think about how it was truly that last time we would see those seniors perform in purple and gold.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many tears in a post-game/meet press conference in my few years doing this journalism thing.

Kelley was crying from the moment she landed her final tumbling pass to end the meet for LSU and well into the interview. Tear’s littered Finnegan’s — perhaps the best LSU athlete across all sports — long after she talked to the media. Priessman, it seemed like, cried — no sobbed — more than than those two combined.

And I felt like the grinch at the end of the movie during the presser. My heart grew three sizes and tears fell down my face while I was just trying to do my job.

I mean you just try looking at these faces and not crying.

LSU fans have had their fare share of heartbreak in the last 20 years or so, and my colleagues will details those, but the gymnastics team has not been on of them. Breaux, who built the program from the ground up, has only excelled even more in the latter part of her career. She makes the team enjoyable to watch, even when they don’t win national championships.