In Focus: Belief System

Find this article on page 185 of this week's LSU At the Game program.
Find this article on page 185 of this week's LSU At the Game program.
Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan

LSU Gymnastics Team Preparing for Super Season

The LSU football team possesses world-class power, speed, explosiveness and grace, but they aren’t the only Tigers on campus who can stake that claim.

So can the LSU gymnastics team.

“Part of the hurdle you have to get over before you can win a championship is getting a team to actually believe that they can win a championship,” said LSU gymnastics associate head coach Jay Clark. “I think what last year served to do was to get the girls to realize what we told them all along was true; that they absolutely can win a championship.”

The Tigers’ success last season in reaching the NCAA Super Six has brought a whole new confidence going into this season. Only losing two seniors, the Tigers have 13 returners, including seven All-Americans and five All-SEC performers.

These ladies are hungry. They are starving for a shiny ring to match the one worn by LSU’s 2013 NCAA Vault Champion, Rheagan Courville.

“I know how it feels to be a national champion and I want that for everyone else,” Courville said. “Individually, it doesn’t compare to what I want for the team; the only reason I was successful was because I had a bigger goal in sight. I think we all have that this year. We know how close it was because we saw it happen right in front of our eyes at Super Six.”

Collectively, all of the team members have expressed that they have the same goal in sight.

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“We want to win the gold, we want to win the big national championship, and I think that with this team that goal is definitely possible,” freshman Ashleigh Gnat said.

The ladies and coaches have sprung up from placing fifth last season at the Super Six and are ready to push forward with exceptionally higher expectations.

“The momentum that we built toward the end of last season is exactly the way we need to start this season,” said senior Kaleigh Dickson.

Head coach D-D Breaux is very confident in her new recruiting class.

“We have a couple of freshmen that we are going to be able to plug in and make us better,” Breaux said. “I think Ashleigh Gnat will have an immediate impact and will be good enough to probably compete in the all-around. Shae Zamardi is an outstanding bar worker, which is the event last year that we lacked depth in.” 

Dickson is also impressed with the freshman class.

“I have noticed the freshmen pushing me to do my best every day, so that’s really cool that we have a lot of leadership within the team between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen,” Dickson said.

The Tigers did very well last season in the SEC championship and participated in the Super Six, finishing within a very narrow margin of winning the whole thing. Both Breaux and Clark have expressed that this success only validates what they have been stressing to the ladies - that a national championship is right under their noses.

This year, LSU is set up with a great foundation and have the right additions and confidence to achieve this overall goal.

“A belief system is something hard to create, and once you create it, then half the battle is won. They definitely believe now,” Clark said.

The many fans that fill the Maravich Center during the season have motivated the success of this team’s winning tradition. This December in the Maravich Center, the Tiger gymnastics team is adding an entirely new dimension to their last intra-squad fall competition with the Gymnastics 101 free event. Coach Breaux invites everyone to attend and support the ladies as they spring forward into their season.

The Tigers have a strong home schedule this season and cannot wait to drop their Super Six banner alongside Rheagan Courville’s national championship banner at the season opener against Centenary on January 10.

All Tiger fans are encouraged to come out and experience the power, speed and grace of the LSU Gymnastics team! Reserve your season tickets now at





'The Tribute' - Celebrating LSU Athletics Graduates
May. 11
Inside LSU Gymnastics - Episode 12
Apr. 25
Gymnastics NCAA Super Six Highlights
Apr. 21