Freshman all-arounder Ruby Harrold got her first experience competing in a college meet in No. 2 LSU’s 197.475-192.625 win against Texas Woman’s.
Harrold sat out LSU’s first two meets, because LSU coach D-D Breaux wanted to give Harrold a rest after competing the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Tonight was so much fun,” Harrold said. “It’s just a completely different scenery and completely different setting than what I’m used to. It feels so good to just finally get competing again. It was a great experience.”
The Bristol, England native competed on uneven bars and floor, scoring a 9.875 on bars and 9.850 on floor.
“Tonight’s bars, I think, was probably the best bars we’ve done as a team,” coach D-D Breaux said. “It was nice to have Ruby in there because it’s such a different look. Her bar routine is so unique and it’s only gonna get better from here.”
Olympian and freshman gymnast Ruby Harrold talked about her first time competing for LSU.
Harrold is the fourth LSU gymnasts in school history to compete at the Olympics.
Harrold competed in uneven bars, floor and vault at the 2016 Rio Olympics on Great Britain's team. She joins Shanyn MacEachern (Atlanta 1996), Jennifer Wood (Barcelona 1992) and Larissa Lowing (Seoul 1988), who all competed for Canada’s gymnastics team.
“It was good to see her out there because she works so hard in the gym,” Breaux said. “When she first got here we just kinda put her in the pasture and said ‘We just want you to kinda get used to what’s going on and enjoy the process you get going to school.’ Now, she’s working hard with all of the village, everybody that we’ve got that contributes to the success of this team to get her gymnastics and get herself back at her very, very best level.”
Breaux emphasized that Ruby has a “beautiful” vault routine and that type of depth is what she is looking for in the LSU gymnasts.
“I told Ruby, I think, a thousand times that I was so proud of her,” senior Ashleigh Gnat said. “I’ve watched them [the freshmen] come into the gym and we set the tone when we go into the gym and they, as they came in as freshmen, they molded to that tone and they stepped up their game to compete with us. I’ve watched the work in the background; I feel like a proud mom.”
Breaux gave Harrold a few tips before and during her performance.
“Just to enjoy it,” Harrold said. “She gave me a few gymnastics corrections, but just to enjoy it and have fun. Elite gymnastics is very different and to come in and enjoy competing.”
Breaux added: “Ruby going in on two events, that’s the depth that we need to develop.”