Kennedi Edney — People to Watch 2018

How you know her: She was LSU’s first freshman gymnast in school history to win an individual national championship

As they say in the gymnastics world, Kennedi Edney knows how to stick it. The 19-year-old gymnast put together a veritable scroll of accomplishments at LSU this year, from NCAA Vault National Champion to First-Team All-American to SEC All-Freshman, and so much more. The California native won her national championship in vault with an incredible score of 9.9875. Now a sophomore, she has already left her mark on LSU gymnastics history, and she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. lsusports.net


1. She was born for this. At 6 months old, Edney was walking. “My mom had put me in the baby-and-me classes. While all the babies were crawling around and not paying attention, I was off swinging on the bars,” she says. Her mother put her in gymnastics then at 6 months, and the rest is, literally, LSU gymnastics history.

2. She’s the queen of vault. Edney often gets told by those in the gymnastics world that she’s best on vault, and the praise is no exaggeration. Her 9.9875 at the 2017 NCAA Championship was the highest at an NCAA event by an LSU gymnast in school history and the second-highest score by a freshman on vault in school history. It’s her best event, and it also happens to be her favorite.

3. She chose LSU over her dad’s own alma mater. Her father, Tyus Edney, was a star basketball player for UCLA, where he now coaches. He, of course, wanted his talented daughter to join UCLA gymnastics and attend college there. But ever the independent and self-motivated gymnast, she chose LSU instead. After visiting the campus’ stately oaks, she knew she was home.

4. She knows that teamwork makes the dream work. Edney says her teammates are her driving force, pushing her every day to be better—and without that push, she’d be nowhere.

5. There’s nothing else she’d rather do. “I don’t love anything else like I love this sport,” Edney says. “I can’t live without it. I can’t be without it for more than three days, or else I go crazy and don’t know what to do with myself.”

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This article was originally published in theJanuary 2018 issue of 225 Magazine.