Missouri gymnastics ready to kick off 2018 season with Black & Gold scrimmage

With a plethora of experience and talented freshmen, the Tigers hope to build off of one of their most successful seasons in program history.

Sophomore Morgan Porter flips through the air as she dismounts from the balance beam during the teams home meet in December 2016. Maneater File Photo

Missouri gymnastics is set to kick off the 2018 season with its annual Black & Gold scrimmage this Saturday.

The Tigers boast a wealth of experience, as 12 gymnasts return from last season, 11 of whom are now upperclassmen. The season was one of the best in program history, as Mizzou finished ranked No. 15 in the country.

Senior Kennedi Harris will be one of the biggest names at the scrimmage. The nation’s 20th-best floor performer last season, she will hope to build off of her nine career event titles in floor and vault.

Seniors Becca Schugel and Shauna Miller will look to prove that they are some of the best all-around gymnasts in the country. The pair have recorded 58 and 44 scores of 9.800 or higher in their careers, respectively, and Schugel is a two-time All-SEC Team member.

Junior Britney Ward was also an All-SEC Team member last year and had 12 event wins in both her freshman and sophomore season on vault and beam.

But fans will be most excited to see the return of redshirt sophomore Morgan Porter. In 2016, Porter became the first gymnast from Mizzou to win SEC Freshman of the Year and qualified for the NCAA championships as an all-arounder. However, she only competed in three meets in 2017 before suffering a season-ending injury against Alabama.

Porter will enter the 2018 season looking to continue the dominance she showed two seasons ago.

In addition to all of its experience, Mizzou will introduce four freshmen this season: Chelsey Christensen, Lauren Clevenger, Gabrielle Gottula and Paige Kovnesky. Christensen was a seven-time South Dakota state high school champion, Gottula placed fourth as an all-arounder in the 2016 Texas State Championships and Clevenger and Kovnesky have qualified for the Junior Olympics.

The Black & Gold scrimmage is scheduled to start at 2:45 p.m. CT on Saturday, Dec. 9, at Hearnes Center.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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