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CANCUN, Mexico – LSU gymnastics begins its 38th season overall and 35th under head coach D-D Breaux when the Tigers face four ranked opponents Friday in the Cancun Classic held at the Iberostar Hotel.
LSU is ranked 12th entering the season opener, and the Tigers will square off against 11th-ranked Arkansas, No. 17 Auburn, No. 19 Arizona and 25th-ranked Iowa.
“Cancun is a great place to compete, and the meet is always exciting,” Breaux said. “We are facing some great competition to open the season, and we can’t wait to get out there because we have had fantastic practices leading up to the opener.”
LSU has had great success at the Cancun Classic, winning the title to open the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The 2008 squad posted a 195.725 in the meet, the highest score in a season opener in LSU history, and the 2009 team earned a 194.900, the second best score in a season opener.
Ten letterwinners from the 2011 team return this season, including sophomore All-America Kaleigh Dickson, sophomore All-SEC performer Sarie Morrison and Ashley Lee, a 2010 All-American and the only senior on the team.
LSU will also count on solid scores from Ericka Garcia, Janelle Garcia, Maliah Mathis, Shelby Prunty, Casey Duvall, Mckenzie Fox and Lainie Fleming.
Four freshmen will make their debut in the Cancun Classic as Rheagan Courville, Lloimincia Hall, Jessie Jordan and Randi Lau are expected to compete in at least one event lineup.
“We are getting good leadership from our upperclass people who were on a team that struggled last season, so they are coming in eager and hungry,” Breaux said. “The freshmen have come in with a lot of enthusiasm and difficulty in their routines, and they can’t wait to compete. It’s a great mix.”
The Tigers will be shorthanded in the meet as neither Prunty nor Mathis will compete because of injuries. Prunty is recovering from surgery early in fall camp, and Mathis is battling a foot injury.
Historically, LSU has fared well against the other competitors at the Cancun Classic. LSU is 19-3-1 all-time against Arkansas, 63-12 against Auburn, 9-1 against Iowa and 10-8 versus Arizona.
After the meet LSU will turn around and face Auburn again in the home opener on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.



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