Mizzou gymnastics looks to put its best foot forward to begin season

The Tigers will be tested in their season-opening bout versus No. 24 Illinois and Ball State

The tigers end their meet with a team chant in the middle of the floor.

Last year, Mizzou gymnastics was a young team, with 12 underclassmen filling its 15-athlete roster. With a season of valuable experience under its belt, this year’s team looks poised to compete for a top spot in the SEC, and expectations are high.

Those expectations are reflected in the preseason NCAA rankings, where the Tigers sit at No.19. The team’s first chance to justify its pegging comes on Jan. 6 at the Hearnes Center, when it competes against Ball State and No. 24 Illinois.

Mizzou will hope to beat Illinois in its season opener for the second year in a row. Last year, No. 23 Mizzou upset No. 15 Illinois behind strong performances from Brooke Kelly and Morgan Porter.

Two key areas to watch for in the meet will be the Tigers’ ability to nail handstands and stick dismounts. Those are two areas where nerves can play a factor, so keep an eye on Aspen Tucker as she makes her collegiate debut.

Two key gymnasts for the Tigers will be sophomore Porter and junior Becca Schugel. Porter looked exceptional at the Black and Gold meet, posting a 9.9 on beam. Schugel returned to the floor after a year hiatus and garnered a team-high 9.825.

The meet begins at 7 p.m., and the gymnasts are hoping for a packed house. According to junior Kennedi Harris, a strong home crowd “...helps us get that energy up, and we can show off what we’ve been working hard for.”

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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