In describing the night for Missouri gymnastics Friday, coach Rob Drass made it simple.
“Sometimes gymnastics is a weird sport,” he said.
That assertion rang true for the Tigers in their meet Friday night against the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners.
While the meet will go in the loss column, Missouri racked up its highest team score of the season at 196.375. Oklahoma was far ahead with 197.400.
The Tigers certainly gave the Sooners a shock to start the meet. Their vault score of 49.350 was just 0.075 points short of a team record in the event.
Leading Missouri in that event, and tying for second overall, was freshman Kelsy Landreth. She put up a 9.925, the second-highest score the Tigers have seen this season in the event and a career-high for Landreth.
Landreth did not participate in Missouri’s first two meets of the season because she was still enrolled in Mexico High School, but after graduating early and enrolling in the second semester, she began giving the Tigers solid scores in the vault.
“It’s been a lot at the same time, but it’s great,” Landreth said of her experience so far at MU. “I love being with all my gymnasts and all my teammates all the time.”
Drass said he was very impressed with the freshman’s performance.
“My hat’s off to Kelsy,” he said. “(She) really ignited the whole team. She’s been battling a leg injury and didn’t train a whole lot this week, and wow, maybe we shouldn’t ever train her.”
The Tigers were up 49.350-48.975 after the first rotation, but their lead slipped away after they took to the bars and Oklahoma hit the vault.
Senior Allie Heizelman got the overall win in the event with a 9.875, but slight slips all around allowed the Sooners to mount a lead that they would not relinquish.
The Tigers scored more than 49 on both the beam and floor exercise to help put them over the 196-point mark. Their team score of 49.300 on the floor marked a season high and included three 9.900s from senior Mary Burke, sophomore Katelyn Trevino and freshman Rachel Updike.
Burke, Missouri’s top all-around performer, was critical of her own performance, where she made mistakes on bars and beam, but she was satisfied with that of the team.
“Overall, it wasn’t my best meet, I had kind of an off night tonight,” she said. “… we’re happy with our performance today, and we even have room to improve from here, this isn’t going to be our best meet.”
Drass was very complimentary of the Tigers and even thought their performance had an effect on the Sooners.
“If there can be a good loss, this is it … they made Oklahoma earn 197 and probably pushed them to one of their best meets of the year," Drass said.
Missouri returns to the Hearnes Center on Friday to face the Bowling Green State Falcons.