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Friday, June 23, 2017

Mizzou Gymnastics sticks season opener, breaks program record

The Tigers destroyed their previous team record for highest opening-meet score from 2004 and 2015.

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Junior Becca Schugel high-fives her teammates as the announcer introduces the team.

Julia Hansen/Staff Photographer

Jan. 8, 2017

New year, same story.

In a second-consecutive season opener against Illinois, Mizzou rose to the challenge and handily beat the Fighting Illini. The Tigers recorded their highest opening-meet score in team history with a 196.225.

Illinois notched a 194.200 and Ball State finished with a 193.625.

It was a night of strong performances from the Tigers’ stars as the team won the vault, bars, and floor rotations. Britney Ward continued her All-American form from last season on vault, scoring a 9.825 while earning her first win of the young season.

Becca Schugel was a constant force, competing in bars, beam and floor. In all three events Schugel achieved scores of 9.85, tying for first on floor with teammate Kennedi Harris. Most importantly, Schugel was able to stick her landings, which had been a key point of emphasis for her heading into the season.

Aspen Tucker looked crisp in her collegiate debut, performing as the all-around for the Tigers. Tucker appeared calm and collected, winning with a final score of 39.175, a full two points higher than Illinois’ all-around, Karen Howell.

Madeleine Huber had an outstanding routine on bars, posting the fifth-highest bars score in program history with a 9.925. Allison Bower recorded a 9.775 for her floor routine, but perhaps more importantly was able to work hitting the whip into her routine.

More than anything, the Tigers seemed to be having fun on Friday. During the floor competition, most of the team could be seen completing dance moves in sync with whichever gymnast was competing.

Schugel has talked about how the team’s fun-natured attitude does not always come through during a meet, saying after the Black and Gold meet, “I know you may not see it out here on the competition floor, but we like to have our fun.”

On Friday, it was on full display.

The only thing out of place was the absence of Morgan Porter. Porter competed in the Black and Gold Meet, but not in the season opener. Look for her debut next Friday, Jan. 13, when Mizzou travels to Arkansas to face the No. 17 Razorbacks.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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