Jan. 2, 2009


Courtesy of LSU

CANCUN, Mexico – One day after New Year’s the seventh-ranked LSU gymnastics team began the season on the right note Friday afternoon by winning the team title and sweeping the individual all-around titles at the Cancun Classic at the Hilton Beach and Spa Resort.


LSU posted a 194.900 team score which was nearly a point higher than No. 19 Boise State’s 193.700 total. No. 8 Michigan finished third with a 192.700 score while North Carolina placed fourth with a score of 190.325.


“We were looking at a mid-195 before we made a few mistakes on bars, but right now it is not about the score. It is about the quality of the performance and the team cohesiveness,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said.


“There was no selfishness out there. Everybody was all about the team. These things are important, and that is how you are going to measure your success down the road – how well they work together, how well they support each other and the rhythm that they develop in the line-up. I was very pleased because we had a mature performance.”


LSU got things started with a score of 48.625 on beam and followed that up with a 48.575 score on floor. The Tigers picked things up on vault with a score of 49.200 and finished the meet with a 48.500 total on bars.


Individually, LSU swept the all-around as senior Ashleigh Clare-Kearney captured the all-around crown for the second straight year at the Cancun Classic by finishing the meet with a 39.350 total while junior Sabrina Franceschelli finished second with a score of 38.775 and junior Susan Jackson took third with an all-around score of 38.650.


Clare-Kearney picked up right where she left off a year ago by claiming three event titles in the floor, vault and bars as well as the all-around crown. Clare-Kearney tied for first on the floor exercise with Jordan Sexton and Tatjana Thuener-Rego of Michigan with a score of 9.800. She also tied for the top spot in bars with Taylor Jacob of Boise State with a 9.875 score. LSU swept the top three spots in the vault as Clare-Kearney posted the highest score of anyone in any event in the meet with a 9.900, and junior Susan Jackson took second with a 9.875 score while sophomore Staci Schwitkis finished third with a 9.850 mark.


Freshman Gloria Johnson saw her first action as a Tiger in the beam and vault line-ups, and she responded with a solid 9.675 score on beam and an outstanding 9.825 on vault.


“We need to come into practice, get rid of the clutter, stay focused on getting better and leaner and do what we need to do to be the best team we can be week in and week out. We have to try to get better in small increments in that process,” Breaux said.


LSU will stay on the road next week as the Tigers travel to Iowa City, Iowa to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes and Southeast Missouri on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. CST.