Missouri gymnastics takes a tumble, falls to Georgia

February 9, 2019

Friday brought a special evening at the Hearnes Center for Missouri gymnastics. It was Alumni Night and Pink Out Night for the Tigers, and a sea of pink, black and gold washed over the arena.

The team recognized women in the community who are survivors of cancer and honored a group of alumni who were members of the team throughout the program’s 40-year history.

It was also a special evening for the current Missouri gymnastics team. The Tigers came into the day ranked No. 13, set to take on the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers set a season-high on their uneven parallel bars routine, notching a score of 49.150. The score beat the previous team high from the Jan. 11 meet against Florida.

Aspen Tucker came away with the best individual performance. She’s been the team leader all season with her fantastic ability on the floor routine. Friday night was no difference. Tucker posted a career high of 9.925 on the floor.

“I felt like coming back on the floor, we kind of showed that we still can hang,” Tucker said. “Even though we made a couple mistakes, we can come back stronger.”

The Tigers’ floor routine was also a season high at 49.275, passing the previous score of 49.200.

“That might be one her best routines of the year, score or no score. Just looking at the performance,” coach Shannon Welker said about Tucker’s floor routine that ignited the Missouri crowd.

“We counted a fall, and that was the difference in what gave us the ability to not knock off Georgia tonight,” Welker continued.

The Tigers struggled on a couple routines, with slips on the uneven bars and the balance beam. It would come back to bite Missouri, which fell just short of Georgia with a score of 196.30 to 195.90.

Friday was a tale of highs and lows for the Tigers. Madeleine Huber, Tucker and Gabrielle Gottula all either tied or broke personal season highs. However, the trouble on the balance beam proved costly.

The Tigers were just too inconsistent to get the victory. The 195.90 mark is also the fourth-lowest point total for the Tigers this season. The total also broke a three-match streak of scoring at least 196 points overall. Friday was a tough way to follow up the Feb. 1 meet, when Missouri scored a season-high 196.550 against No. 8 Alabama. With the loss, the Tigers fell to 4-6 (1-4 in SEC). Georgia improved to 4-3 (2-2).

Missouri gymnastics will compete Feb. 15 in the Mardi Gras Invitational in St. Charles. The Tigers will face off against No. 4 Utah, No. 5 LSU and No. 24 Stanford. The competition will be as tough as it has been all season for the Tigers.

“Really it’s a home-meet for us,” Welker said. “It’s in St. Louis; we have a ton of fans over there.”

The Mardi Gras Invitational should be a great test for Missouri, which has won just one of its last six meets.

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