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BATON ROUGE – The LSU gymnastics team officially opened preparations for the 2012 season with its first full practice of the fall semester Tuesday inside the gymnastics practice area in the Carl Maddox Field House.
The team wasted no time jumping into an intense workout on the first day after working out eight hours a week for the last several weeks with Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Earl Chevalier.
“We hit the ground running today as we already started working on routines,” LSU head coach D-D Breaux said. “We feel we are a much stronger and deeper team, and the level of fitness and enthusiasm along with our goals and aspirations is high.
“Right now each practice is a series of preparations with small targets, working toward our first intrasquad and then moving into our second and third intrasquads right before final exams in December.”
The team split into small groups and rotated through bars, beam and floor during practice.
The gymnasts worked on the majority of their floor routines, but each gymnast only performed the final tumbling pass in the routine. Several routines are still in the process of being developed by volunteer assistant coach Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, the two-time NCAA national champion and former gymnast at LSU who enters her second season as a coach with the Tigers.
“Having Ashleigh last year and again this year lends continuity to what we are doing,” Breaux said. “She has been working with the kids to get the choreography down and finish the routine constructions, and it’s coming along nicely.”
The Tigers also worked extensively on beam and bars with emphasis placed on the skills performed throughout the routine.
“They didn’t have to hit each time on beam, but they had to go through all their skills and work their routine six times,” Breaux said. “On bars we did internal sets to improve handstands and skills, so only a few kids worked on dismounts and combinations into their dismount.”
Shelby Prunty, Ericka Garcia and Mckenzie Fox are recovering from injuries suffered during the 2011 season, but Breaux said all are improving and on schedule for the season.
“Shelby is limited on what she can do on bars after wrist surgery early in the summer, but her beam and floor are beautiful right now. Ericka is improving after her ACL tear, and she is working on internal sets on bars. You can’t even tell ‘Mac’ (Mckenzie) has been injured. She is full go on bars, but we are not letting her do a dismount yet,” Breaux said.
LSU returns nine letterwinners from last season’s team that competed at the NCAA Athens Regional, including 2009 All-America Ashley Lee and 2011 All-America Kaleigh Dickson as well as All-SEC sophomore Sarie Morrison.
The Tigers will continue practice Wednesday as they work toward the first intrasquad meet Oct. 14 in the practice gym.



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