It seems with each passing year, the fan-base for LSU Gymnastics has grown significantly. DIG caught up with the LSU gymnastics team to chat about their experiences on the floor.
‘Tis the Season
The Tigers have started the season well, winning the first three meets of the season against Oklahoma, North Carolina and Kentucky.
“I think we’ve had a great start, coming out here and just knowing how much talent we have on the team and really just being able to come together as one and having a common goal in mind…really just trying to strive for that,” said senior all-arounder Randii Wyrick.
Likewise, sophomore all-arounder Erin Macadaeg says she feels her team has gotten off to a great start. She says the team feels different this year.
“Coming in my second year, it feels a lot different than last year – since I have a year of experience under my belt but also because the team’s culture has changed with having five new freshmen come in compared to last year where we had five seniors who were leaving. This year I feel like the team has really bonded well and we have a great team chemistry this year and I think that will help us soar through the season.”
Sophomore all-arounder Myia Hambrick agrees the year has kicked off to what she would call a great start.
“I think it’s been pretty good so far. We are settling into how things work. We have 11 people so I think everyone is figuring it out by now,” she says.
Wyrick also credits the LSU Gymnastic fans for the success and enthusiasm the team has created.
“It’s been an awesome experience. Since my first year, each year the fan-base has grown and grown and grown. Just to see the impact we’ve have on other people and to see how many fans have been inspired and come actually watch us and support us – it means a lot, believing in us, cheering us on. And not just for us, but women sports in general – it’s an honor to be able to represent and showcase our talents to inspire other people.”
Macadaeg says she feels that social media has really made an impact on the fan-base that seems to be growing each year.
“Technology is a really big thing nowadays and we’ve really been paying attention to what we’ve been posting, how we advertise the team and get our fans involved with all of our events,” she says.
Hambrick says she feel the crowd plays a major role in their success because of the hype they bring.
“We try to always be as close to perfect during practice but especially when you get out in the PMAC it’s mostly about the crowd. They are excited and they get even more excited with each routine. It’s for the crowd and they are a lot of the reason we have done so well.”
Let Me Check My Schedule
And as you can probably imagine, with a demanding schedule like many college students, these women have to find the perfect balance between their scholastic world and gym life. We wanted to know – “just how do you manage your time…”
“Well, when I first came here it was definitely difficult [laughs],” Wyrick says. She continues –
“Write everything out! My planner is my love and I write everything in there. So just getting into a habit and a routine of maybe…focusing on school for this hour and then practice at a certain hour. Really just breaking up the day piece by piece and writing it all down and how I’m going to do it. That’s the best way to do it.”
Wyrick also says the support from her teammates plays a major role in her success as a student and gymnast. “Supporting each other and going through the same things with each other – it definitely makes things a lot easier when you have the support of the team,” she explains.
Macadaeg adds, that not only having the support of the team helps her manage everything, but also, having the support of the athletic staff plays a big part in her time management.
“When I came to LSU there was a lot of support for academic advisors, tutors, and LSU has a great program to help us balance it out with practice because it can get crazy if you don’t have it all planned out.”
While fans are flipping out about their undying love for the Tiger Gymnastics, the women say their love for the fans is equally reciprocated.
During the Jan. 22 meet against Kentucky, DIG also caught LSU gymnastics fans.
LSU business major Jennifer King, 22, says she has been a fan for a long time but she has definitely notice an increase in spectators over the course of the last 3 years.
“When I came to LSU, gymnastics was definitely a big deal BUT it has definitely become even a bigger deal. I think people started to realize just how awesome these girls are. They have a lot of talent and I’m super proud to be able to say that’s my team!” she says.
Baton Rouge native and LSU graduate Heather Jackson, 34, explains why she and her daughters have become such huge fans of LSU gymnastics over the past year:
“Last year I made it my business to bring my girls to almost every meet at LSU. I think the girls are so inspirational and such great role models for young girls like my kids. Women sports aren’t really acknowledged as much as they should be and I’m happy that LSU Gymnastic is gaining the support and recognition it deserves.”
We Just Gotta Know…
What are some of your tips when it comes to keeping your body in shape?
Wyrick: “It’s just getting to know your body because not everyone is the same. A lot of people think when they hear this new diet, it’s for everyone but really it’s just paying attention to what YOU can eat. It’s finding out your body and who you are…trial and error things. Obviously, eating the right foods – not saying you can’t have a bad food every now and then because I mean, I like that. But just holding yourself accountable too, it’s not a quick fix. It’s a lifestyle.”
Macadaeg: “Going off what Randii said, you definitely have to know your body. What helped me too is having one of my teammates keep me accountable. We’ll keep each other accountable, we will be like…’hey, this is what I ate today’ or ‘hey, do you think I could eat this.’ Do everything in moderation.”
What are some of your weird talents?
Wyrick: “I impersonate people a lot [laughs]. I’m like always in character. I guess it’s a bit strange [laughs].”
Macadaeg: “Yea, Randii is a great character to be around. Just to get to know her through last year and this year… I’m so sad that she is a senior this year.”
Wyrick: “And oh yea, I also write poetry. A lot of people don’t know that but yea, I’m a poet.”
Macadaeg: “I do a lot of arts and crafts…”
Wyrick: “Yea, she is awesome!”
Hambrick: “I mean I don’t have any other talents really…[laughs]. Well, wait…I’m really good at parking! And I take really long naps.”
Wyrick: “…yea we take really long naps, if there was a profession I could nap, I would be great at it!”
What are some challenges you have faced or things you would like to improve on?
Wyrick: “My biggest challenge is definitely just trying to prioritize. Especially, with all the things we have to do with community service or practice or school. Just seeing what works best for me. You want to make sure you’re getting your work done and having fun too. Obviously, in college you want to have fun and experience it. Sometimes it’s difficult, you look at all these normal students and they are going out having fun and I’m here and you’re like ahhhh… so definitely just getting adjusted to the schedule took a little time.”
Hambrick: Well, I guess my issue… well I’m actually pretty good in school – I guess that could be a talent [laughs]. I don’t study for my test and I get like 95s. School isn’t that hard for me. I’m actually pretty much a homebody so when [Randii] was saying that whole thing about going out, I never really had that issue but my thing was in the gym. But I feel like I have grown a lot. My entire life I never really competed against anyone so when I came here it was definitely a change.”
Macadaeg: “For me it was all adjustments…being in a different state and all. I think I got through all that last year so I’m good now.”
Where are you guys from?
Wyrick: “I’m from Vegas.”
Macadaeg: “I’m from California.”
Hambrick: “I’m from Georgia.”
Macadaeg: “Literally, everyone is from a different place. I think it helps us as a team to have a lot of diversity. I think it’s good for fans too, like we are all different and they find someone they can connect with on the team. We are all great friends.”
Hambrick: “Ok, so I know nothing about Mardi Gras. I’ve been here all this time and still know nothing about it.”
Wyrick: “I am a senior, OK – and I still have not participated in any Mardi Gras activities. I don’t even know what it is.”
Macadaeg: “I’ve kind of grown up with the Mardi Gras culture because my mom is from New Orleans so that’s been in my life. So I was really excited to come and experience it.”
Wyrick: “Hopefully, I’ll be able to do a parade or something this year!”
Hambrick: “I’m so afraid of frogs!”
Macadaeg: “Yes! Myia is so afraid of frogs!”
Hambrick: “I don’t understand why…One time I left my 6 year old sister in the dark by herself because there was a frog and I sprinted away.”
Macadaeg: “I feel like I don’t want to say because someone will come up to me and try to scare me.”
Wyrick: “I’m afraid I’m going to die in my sleep. Like if I have a headache I will not go to sleep.”