Gymnastics Squad Still Searching for First SEC Win

Friday, Feb. 22-

The Missouri gymnastics team entered Friday’s meet looking to earn its first win in Southeastern Conference play. Unfortunately, wins do not come easy in the SEC, and the Tigers ended up falling to the No. 8 Georgia Bulldogs by a final score of 194.550-196.825. Even though the team couldn’t pull out the victory, the individual gymnasts continued to improve, as many personal records were broken.

The opening event of the meet was the vault, in which careers highs were being put in danger. Sophomore superstar Rachel Updike, who is one of the top vaulters nationally, achieved a new career high, by carding a 9.950. She took first place in the event.

Joining Updike, by also recording a career high, was senior leader Tori Howard, who put up a 9.875. Freshman Miranda Eubank tied a career high by finishing with a score of 9.775. Even with these gaudy numbers, the Tigers trailed after the first rotation by a score of 48.875-49.400.

At the uneven bars, everyone continued to get involved in posting career numbers. The next Tiger to do it was Laura Kapler. The standout sophomore, who only started expanding beyond balance beam this year, showed her worth by coming in and snagging a 9.725, which matched her career high in the event. Also coming in strong were Eubank and senior Sandra Ostad, who both tallied 9.750 points. Halfway through, the Tigers kept it close at 97.575-98.550.

On the balance beam, Missouri kept up its consistent performance, scoring 48.15 points. The star on the beam was, once again, Updike, who led all Tigers with a score of 9.775. Right with her was Howard who, over the years, has become a staple and an absolute star on the beam. Going into the final event of the day, Mizzou trailed by a score of 145.750-147.675.

The Tigers saved the best for last in this meet, as they performed extremely well in the floor exercise. Leading Missouri was Ostad, who was the latest Tiger to set a career record, with a score of 9.850. Also impressing on the floor were Howard, junior Taylor Medrea and junior Cathryn Aliceaacosta, who all recorded scores of 9.800. With good scores all around, Missouri earned a season-best performance on the floor. However, in the overall points race, Missouri came up short, keeping that elusive first SEC win out of reach for at least another week.

The Tigers next chance to pick up their first conference victory will be in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will take on the Razorbacks. That meet can be seen on Fox Sports Network, beginning at 7:00 p.m. Friday.

-Eric Kelly
23 Sports
Staff Writer