Faith keeps LSU gymnast Hall’s feet on floor while attitude soars

“Being a Christian, you learn to put yourself aside and show Christ through everything,. So when I got on this team, it was just more putting yourself aside and doing what you can to get the team national championship.” LLOIMINCIA HALL, LSU gymnast

Lloimincia Hall’s floor routine is a spectacle, sprinkled with a touch of Earth, Wind and Fire, gospel music and the Golden Band from Tigerland, coupled with powerful tumbling passes and an unmatched piercing confidence in Hall’s eyes.

It’s a confidence, she said, that’s easy to contrive.

“If it’s in (God’s) hands, let it be in his hands,” Hall said. “That’s the reason why the nerves are gone.”

The daughter of a pastor and a devout Christian, Hall’s used her faith and spiritual upbringing to mature in all facets of her life as she transitions into a veteran leader for the No. 1 Lady Tigers.

Hall admitted she struggled to balance the three aspects of her life — church, academics and athletics — as she began her college career, often putting too much of an emphasis on one area and having the other two suffer.

Often, she reverted to her time at Coppell-based Texas Dreams Gymnastics club, where a more individualized mindset was necessary to garner the ultimate goal: a college scholarship.

Now, while the goal has changed, her demeanor has not.

“Being a Christian, you learn to put yourself aside and show Christ through everything,” Hall said. “So when I got on this team, it was just more putting yourself aside and doing what you can to get the team national championship.”

Specifically, Hall has become more vocal on the sidelines while her teammates perform, learning to get in her mental zone while supporting the gymnasts around her.

Senior Sarie Morrison, a Dallas native like Hall, competed in club competitions with Hall and immediately pointed to her team-first mindset as a tangible manifestation of her maturation.

“Normally, she’d be on the sidelines getting mentally prepared for her routine. But this year, she’s getting mentally prepared and being so involved,” Morrison said. “Just really into everyone’s routine, cheering before, cheering after, high fives. It’s really exciting to see her grow in that area.”

“From last year to this year it’s a night and day difference,” Hall said. “I feel like I’ve grown up. People use that word lightly, but I use it in a strong sense.”

While the confidence has always brimmed during Hall’s floor routines, it’s been a different journey on the balance beam, which gave her fits during her club career.

Those unflattering times started to creep back into Hall’s mind when she got to Baton Rouge, resulting in execution errors on the apparatus.

Again, it was time to refocus.

And again, it paid off, culminating in Hall’s career-high tying 9.875 in the leadoff spot last week during the Lady Tigers’ record-setting win against Missouri.

“She’s becoming more pliable and more coachable,” LSU coach D-D Breaux said. “On beam, you have to see it and you feel it. You have to internalize what you’re doing and know your radar is within that four inches. I think she’s beginning to take the coaching and understand the conversation.”

Breaux said the coaches implore Hall to practice as she performs — a wish that sometimes goes unfulfilled, according to Morrison.

Morrison estimated Hall performs four or five floor routines during a normal practice. And for each one, Morrison is at the side of the floor watching the entire thing as if she’s never seen it before.

“At a meet, she’ll do something different every time,” Morrison said. “Maybe one pose in the gym she’s doing it the same, but during the meet she gets this extra burst of energy and extra boost of excitement and she’ll do something completely different.”

The anchor of the Lady Tigers’ floor lineup, Hall’s routine is the final one in each home meet.

And when Morrison and the rest of the Tigers notice the changes during the routine, it elicits the same cheers and laughs that Hall has come to give to her teammates this season.

“It wouldn’t be an LSU gymnastics meet without Lloiminica ending on floor,” Morrison said.