A record-breaking crowd of nearly 6,500 energized the Hearnes Center on Friday night for the sixth annual "Beauty and the Beast" event. The fans cheered on Missouri's gymnasts throughout the meet, making their 196.725-194.575 loss to No. 17 Auburn University a little easier to swallow.
Head Coach Rob Drass said he thought the crowd helped the team achieve its second-highest score of the season.
“I think the city of Columbia loves the (Beauty and the Beast) meet,” he said. “It’s a little chaotic on the floor, but it’s great from a fan’s perspective.”
The Tigers started on the vault, where they posted a score of 48.375. Sophomore Laura Kappler kicked off the rotation for Missouri, scoring a 9.550. She was followed by freshman Miranda Eubank, who earned a 9.600. Senior Tori Howard stuck her landing and posted a score of 9.775. Sophomore Rachel Updike posted a 9.875 and junior Cathryn Aliceaacosta finished off the rotation with a 9.575. Auburn answered with a team score of 49.125.
“The landings (on vault) were not as controlled as we would like them to be,” Drass said when asked about the team’s performance on the event. He said they gave away crucial partial points by not sticking the landings.
Missouri moved on to have a solid turn on the uneven bars, following Auburn’s score of 49.200. Senior Sandra Ostad started the team off strong with a stuck dismount, receiving a score of 9.725. Junior Mackenzie McGill earned a career-high score of 9.800 and Updike matched her season high of 9.850. Kappler earned a 9.425 and junior Taylor Medrea finished the rotation with a stuck dismount of her own to post a 9.750.
McGill said she thinks the team needs to work on performing on bars like they do at practice.
“We’re not as aggressive in the meet because we’re trying to stay on the bar,” she said.
The Tigers earned their highest team score on the balance beam with a 48.975 – which was also the team’s highest beam score of the season. Kappler was the first to compete, earning a 9.700; Medrea followed with a 9.750. Aliceaacosta earned a season-high 9.750, and Updike and Howard both matched their career-high scores of 9.875 and 9.900, respectively. Howard won the beam title, but Auburn barely edged out Missouri with a 49.175.
“We’ve been working on attacking the beam,” Howard said. She said the team had not had much confidence on beam until this meet.
The Tigers’ last event was the floor exercise. They electrified the crowd with solid routines and posted a team score of 48.675. Medrea began the rotation with a 9.800 and Aliceaacosta followed with a 9.825. Ostad continued the team’s high-scoring performance with a 9.850. Eubank and Howard finished the rotation with a 9.650 and 9.550, respectively. Despite Mizzou’s high scores, Auburn won the event with a team score of 49.225.
“It was not a flawless meet, but it was a pretty solid one,” Drass said. He added that he thought the team grew considerably by competing in this meet.
Howard said that the loss was still a step in the right direction.
“We’re getting all the big skills right, which is the first step,” Howard said. “We did that tonight. Next, we have to work on the small details.”
The Tigers will host LSU at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Hearnes Center.