Gymnastics Inks Three in Stellar Signing Class
BATON ROUGE – LSU gymnastics head coach D-D Breaux announced Monday the addition of three outstanding gymnasts who make up the 2016 Signing Class.
Associate head coach and recruiting coordinator Jay Clark, assistant coach Bob Moore and head coach D-D Breaux are excited to welcome talented gymnasts Kennedi Edney, Ruby Harrold and Ashlyn Kirby to the LSU Tiger family.
“If you look at how we try to construct our classes every year, we like to find gymnasts that complement each other as much as possible,” Clark said. “You’re always looking for the best talent you can possibly get, but at the same time when you are trying to match things up you have to look at how they fit within the personality makeup of your team and how they fit together from a gymnastics strength and weakness standpoint.
“This class, when it’s all said and done, in my opinion could wind up being one of the top two or three classes in the country based on what they produce. I think these kids can come in here and make a huge difference right out of the gate.”
“This class reloads in events where our current seniors are graduating,” Breaux said. “It definitely reloads in those spots, but then it overflows to the other events as well. Jay has spotlighted on kids he knows will complement our needs, and that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished in this signing class.”
- 2015 JO Level 10 National Championships - 1st-AA, VT, UB, FX
- 2014 JO Level 10 National Championships - 1st-AA, VT; 2nd-UB, FX; 3rd-BB
- 2014 Nastia Liukin Cup
- 2013 Secret U.S. Classic - Jr. Division
- 2013 JO Level 10 National Championships - 1st-BB; 2nd-AA; 3rd-VT
- 2012 Nastia Liukin Cup
Edney is the daughter of Buffy Edney and former UCLA basketball star Tyus Edney who led the Bruins to the 1995 NCAA national championship.
A native of Chino, Calif., Edney trains under coaches Trent and Jill Spaulding at Precision Gymnastics where she has dominated as a level 10 gymnast.
Edney has captured back-to-back national championships in the all-around at the Junior Olympic (J.O.) Level 10 National Championships after placing second in the all-around at the 2013 championships.
At the 2015 J.O. championships, Edney not only won the all-around national title, but she nearly swept first place in every event as she won national titles on vault, bars and floor as well.
Edney took home the all-around title in every meet in which she competed during the 2015 club season and also added three perfect 10.0 scores on vault.
“We felt like it was a real coup to be able to go out west and get Kennedi,” Clark said. “She’s a great mix of power, grace and athleticism. She’s a quick-twitch, powerful athlete with a lot of personality. She’s one that should explode onto the scene in terms of her performance on every event.
“Her dad is a basketball legend from UCLA, Tyus Edney, who was on their 1995 national championship team, and he went on to play pro ball. Her mom was an athlete as well, so we know we are getting a great athlete who by some estimations may have been a little bit undiscovered. We knew when we saw her early on, prior to her even having some of the accomplishments she now has, we felt like we wanted her. From the beginning we felt like there was enough there that she was going to develop into something spectacular, and she has done that.”
“Kennedi has garnered a lot of attention since her commitment, and the thing that I really relish about her is she is the first one that Jay sent me after when he came on board,” Breaux said. “When I saw her I was very excited from that point forward. It was a good eye on Jay’s part and a very good catch for LSU. We are thrilled to have Kennedi join the LSU family.”
- 2015 World Championship team bronze
- 2014 Commonwealth Games (Team England) Team gold, AA silver, UB bronze
- 2014 European Championship team silver
- 2013 Glasgow World Cup, AA 7th
- 2013 World Championships AA (17th) and UB (7th) finalist
- 2013 European Championships AA, UB and BB final
- 2013 Doha World Cup UB silver
- 2013 Senior British Championships 4th AA, UB silver
- 2012 European Championships UB final and team 4th
- 2011 Junior British UB Silver medalist
- 2009 and 2010 English VT champion
- 2010 Junior British VT champion
- 2010 Junior British AA 4th
- 2010 Junior European Team member
A native of Bristol, England, Harrold is a senior international elite competitor who trains at The Academy under coaches Liz Kincaid and Nia Edwards.
Harrold has represented Great Britain at the highest level where she helped lead her team to the bronze medal at the 2015 World Championships held in Glasgow, Scotland from Oct. 23-Nov. 1.
She qualified for the bars and all-around finals at the World Championships and placed seventh on bars in the finals.
Harrold also qualified for finals in bars and the all-around at the 2014 World Championships in Nanning, China, and she placed 11th in the all-around and eighth on bars.
At the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Harrold led Team England to the gold medal, and she captured the silver medal in the all-around and bronze medal on bars. She also led her team to the silver medal at the 2014 European Championship.
“I’ve been watching Ruby since 2010,” Clark said. “She started coming to the States once a year to train at Cincinnati Gymnastics which afforded me an opportunity to see her without having to go overseas initially. I was intrigued early on by what she brought to the table, and since then her career has taken off to where she is sort of the leader of United Kingdom gymnastics and is the odds-on favorite to make their Olympic team.
“She has just continued to get better and lead her national team to unprecedented success. Ruby brings a lot of maturity to the table, not just from an experience standpoint but also from her demeanor and a personality standpoint. You can just see Ruby stepping in, partially because of her age due to a delayed enrollment but also because of her personality, and providing a lot of leadership even as a freshman. Her personality lends itself to being a calm, cool, level-headed, even-keeled type leader who can really set the tone.”
“Ruby is the total package,” Breaux said. “In every event she does so much difficulty as a world-class athlete. Her coach is driven and is an amazing coach, and Ruby has benefited from that drive.
“Coming to LSU for her is the icing on the cake. She is looking forward to the opportunity to come to the United States, get an education and be a part of this program, and we are equally as excited to have Ruby.”
Shooting Stars Gymnastics
- 2015 JO Nationals: 10th AA, 13th BB, 14th VT
- 2015 Level 10 Regionals: 5th AA, BB & FX, 4th VT
- 2015 Level 10 NC State: 2nd UB, 5th BB
- 2014 JO Nationals: 12th AA & FX, 10th VT
- 2014 Level 10 Regionals: 3rd AA, 5th FX
- 2014 Level 10 NC State: 5th AA, 3rd FX
- 2013 Level 10 Regionals: 6th FX, 7th VT
- 2013 Level 10 NC State: 2nd AA, 3rd UB
- 2011 Level 10 Regional Qualifier
- 2010 Level 10 NC State Beam Champion
A level 10 gymnast from Claremont, N.C., Kirby trains at Shooting Stars Gymnastics under coaches Vladimir and Elena Smirnov.
Kirby is a two-time qualifier for J.O. National Championships, and she placed 10th in the all-around at the 2015 championships. She also earned a Top 5 finish on vault, beam, floor and the all-around at the 2015 Level 10 Regional Championships.
She won two beam titles, one vault title and one all-around title during the 2015 club season.
Kirby finished 10th on vault at the 2014 J.O. National Championships after earning a third-place finish in the all-around at the 2014 regional championships. Overall, she won an individual title on bars, beam, floor and the all-around in the 2014 season.
“We think Ashlyn is that sort of undiscovered jewel in terms of what we think she can contribute,” Clark said. “In our estimation she is an all-arounder. The thing that defines her gymnastics is execution and cleanliness combined with a good level of power.
“She hasn’t had a tremendous amount of competitive experience, but her coaches have done a great job of developing her basics to a point where she gives you a look that is very elite and super clean.”
“You always need someone who you feel like is very settling, and Ashlyn was that when she demonstrated her personality as a young camper and then as an older camper,” Breaux said. “We fell in love with her personality as much as we did her gymnastics.”
The trio is expected to enroll as freshmen at LSU in 2016 and compete for the Tigers in the 2017 season.
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