Jan. 21, 2010
AUBURN, Ala. - The No. 11 Auburn gymnastics team (0-2, 0-1) will hit the road for the first time this season, traveling to Baton Rouge, La., to take on the No. 16 LSU Tigers (2-2, 0-1) Friday at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
Auburn and LSU split last season's series, 1-1. Auburn took the regular season meeting, as then No. 6 Auburn defeated No. 10 LSU on Jan. 30, 196.575-195.300, in Auburn. It had been five years, Jan. 24, 2003, since Auburn was victorious against LSU in Beard-Eaves-Memorial Coliseum. At the SEC Championships, LSU took fourth while Auburn finished fifth.
The trip to Baton Rouge will also serve as a homecoming for associate head coach Rachelle (Fruge) Thompson. Thompson was a three-time All-American for LSU in 1990 on beam, floor, and all-around.
"We're excited to get started on the road," said head coach Jeff Thompson on the upcoming trip. "It is always a fun time of year, and the girls come together more once we start traveling."
Auburn is ranked 11th with a 195.262 average after previously holding down the No. 9 spot. A pair of sophomores highlight the individual rankings for the Tigers, as Allyson Sandusky is 10th on bars with a 9.862 average. Classmate Kylie Shields is ranked 15th with a 9.837 average on beam.
In event-by-event rankings, the Tigers rank 18th on vault (48.875), eighth on bars (48.937), ninth on beam (48.726) and 19th on floor with a 48.678.
LSU will enter Friday's meet ranked No. 16 in the country according to GymInfo and have been ranked as high as No. 6. LSU is 2-2 on the season, having defeated Maryland to start off the season in dual action. Most recently, LSU participated in the Lady Luck Invitational in Las Vegas on Feb. 15, finishing in third place behind Missouri and Kentucky while defeating Arizona State.
"The rankings are misleading. They are by no means the No. 16 team in the country," Thompson said. "They are a very good team. They have a lot of experience, as 15 of their 24 routines are performed by their most experienced gymnasts."
For LSU, Susan Jackson is ranked No. 1 in the country in the all-around competition, holding a 39.450 average. At the Lady Luck Invitational, she won a trio of event titles on vault (9.95), beam (9.9), and floor (9.85). She also scored a 9.925 on bars, narrowly missing a four-event sweep on Feb. 15.
In event-by-event rankings, Jackson ranks No. 4 on vault with a 9.9, No. 7 on bars with a 9.875, and No. 9 on floor with a 9.875. Another gymnast, senior Kayla Rogers, ranks 20th on vault with a 9.85 average.
As a team, LSU ranks No. 7 on vault with a 49.050. The Tigers are 13th on bars (48.837), 18th on floor (48.750), and 21st on beam (48.225).
The meet is slated for a 7 p.m. start from Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge. The meet can be followed live via LSU's website, LSUSports.net.