Ashlyn Broussard has never been to a Gym Dogs meet in Stegeman Coliseum.
The Plano, Texas, native has practiced inside the arena, but never suited up in her competition leotard or even watched a home meet as a spectator.
‚ÄúTo actually be a part of it and be in it is really exciting and I can‚Äôt wait to be there,‚Äù Broussard said.
Broussard is one of six freshmen who will compete in their first home meet at 7:30 p.m. today against No. 2 LSU. But Broussard has the rare freshman responsibility of leading off the No. 9 Gym Dogs (0-2) on beam and vault. She is also in the floor rotation for Georgia, which coach Danna Durante could change throughout the season.
Durante and her assistant coaches noticed during offseason training in October that Broussard had a certain something.
‚ÄúThe way she performs, the way she moves. She‚Äôs very solid, confident on beam and consistent,‚Äù Durante said. ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs become incredibly consistent. I think those are the things that you want whether it‚Äôs a good day or a bad day, she comes in and she does the job on beam.
‚ÄúAnd her vault is enormous.‚Äù
Broussard got her first two collegiate meets under her belt last weekend against Oklahoma and Stanford, rolling up a 9.738 average on vault and a 9.813 average on beam. Durante said the coaching staff had been preparing the freshman to lead off for a few months, throwing her in the fire first during practices.
It was a bit shaky at first, but Broussard has since responded.
Durante referenced Wednesday‚Äôs practice as an example: After a long travel weekend and two away meets, Broussard started a bit slow.
‚ÄúShe was feeling a little tired, a little sore and it took her a few turns to get going,‚Äù Durante said. ‚ÄúI was able to say, ‚ÄòAlright, here‚Äôs the deal, this isn‚Äôt going to work.‚Äô And she turned it around immediately. She‚Äôs very moldable, very coachable and absolutely wants to live up to that expectation, that potential that we see in her.‚Äù
Broussard said she is working on her endurance and consistency in her floor routine, which earned her a 9.634 average after last weekend‚Äôs meets.
‚ÄúI think right now that will be the event that kind of comes and goes for her until we get her more comfortable over there,‚Äù Durante said.
Durante said she was pleased with Broussard‚Äôs performances last weekend, especially considering the freshman was able to manage the pressure on the road. And it‚Äôll only get easier for her.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a really great honor,‚Äù Broussard said of leading off. ‚ÄúI try to be as confident because I think that helps the team if you start hitting.‚Äù