The No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs stormed into Columbia on Friday and beat the Tiger gymnastics team, winning with a score of 196.825 to Mizzou’s 194.550.
Despite the snowstorm the day before, fans still made it out to the Hearnes Center to cheer on the Tigers. Coach Rob Drass said he was surprised with the good turnout. Before the meet, he said the team wasn’t expecting fans at all.
“I was really impressed with the crowd,” he said. “With the snow we weren’t sure what we were going to get.”
The Tigers started the meet off on the vault, where they posted a 48.875, their highest team score of the meet. Junior Cathryn Aliceaacosta led off the rotation with a 9.600 and freshman Miranda Eubank followed, scoring a career-high 9.775. Seniors Tori Howard and Sandra Ostad both stuck their vaults, posting 9.875 and 9.675, respectively. Sophomore Rachel Updike finished off the rotation by matching her career-high score of 9.950, which earned her the event title. But Georgia answered with a higher team score of 49.150.
Updike said the team came out ready to fight and earn a big score on vault and that’s what they did.
“Each vault lined the next one up to be better,” she said.
Mizzou moved next to the uneven bars. Ostad began the rotation with a routine earning a 9.750, and sophomore Laura Kappler followed, matching her career-high score of 9.725. Eubank, with a 9.750, and Updike, who scored a 9.775, both completed solid routines. Junior Taylor Medrea finished off the line-up with a 9.725 to bring the team total to 48.725. But the Tigers were again outscored by the Bulldogs’ tally of 49.400.
The Tigers looked shaky on the balance beam, where they could only manage a team score of 48.150, their lowest of the meet. Kappler earned a 9.750 to start and Aliceaacosta followed with a solid routine and a 9.700 score. Freshman Rachel Henderson fell during her routine, but still earned a 9.150. Updike and Howard finished off the event, both scoring a 9.775. But the Georgia team’s score was a full point higher, at 49.150.
Updike said the beam scoring was tougher than usual, but the team didn’t let it get to them.
“If we know we did a good routine, we don’t let the score affect us,” she said.
The Tigers then moved on to their last event, the floor exercise. Medrea electrified the crowd with her routine, scoring a 9.800. Aliceaacosta and Ostad followed with solid performances of their own, posting scores of 9.800 and 9.850, respectively. Eubank had a shaky routine, but still earned a 9.550. Howard finished off the event with a 9.800, helping the team earn a score of 48.800, the highest they have achieved on this event all season. But it was not enough to beat the Bulldogs’ finish of 49.125.
Drass said he thinks the floor team is really starting to gel together.
“When you look at the individual scores, we’re really putting big scores together and everyone is growing individually,” he said.
Howard agrees that the team is starting to bring back those big scores and said they’re going to fight to improve their routines and scores and earn a spot in the postseason.
“Postseason is everything. It’s what we train for all summer, all preseason, and all season,” she said.
The Tigers travel to Fayetteville to compete against No. 19 Arkansas at 7 p.m. Friday.