LSU Gymnastics' SEC Championship victory over the weekend broke a 36-year drought. Since Saturday, you can tell the team’s let it soak in and turned the page. But followers of head coach D-D Breaux and the Tigers over the years will tell you this means much more than just a few days of celebration.
“I plugged my phone in on the bus ride to the airport, and it sounded like a slot machine,” says Breaux.
“We saw a picture of Jay (Clark) and D-D after the meet, and they were tearing up and crying,” says sophomore Lexie Priessman. “And that just made us cry and tear up also. We know that as gymnasts, we’re the ones out there performing, but they’re the ones who do all of the extra work in the gym and out of the gym for us to succeed.”
Some of LSU’s seniors, in particular, played a role in many of the Tigers’ best teams in history. Gymnasts like Ashleigh Gnat and Sydney Ewing have been a part of record-breaking teams for years, but never hoisted the SEC trophy until now. They never gave up, and neither did their coach.
“What she has created in this program is amazing,” says Gnat about coach Breaux. “It’s something that we all look up to. She creates the passion, and she creates the energy between all of us.”
“It was just an amazing, amazing thing,” says Breaux. “We’ve finished second a lot of times. It just felt like we’d been denied, and this team was not going to be denied.”
But the job isn’t done. The last remaining hurdle is winning a national championship. It’s something they’ve never done at LSU, but it seems closer now than ever before.
“We know that the SEC Championship was a goal, and it was a check mark,” says Gnat. “Once we did it, we knew we had further to go. We have more business to take care of. So I think that’s going to be our mindset as we continue forward.”
The Tigers have this week off before returning to the mats in Lincoln, NE. for their regional in April.
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