Missouri beats Arkansas by 0.175 in its second meet of the year

Friday’s event was highlighted by Kennedi Harris and her final floor score that took home the win for Missouri.
Morgan Porter flips through the air in a meet in 2017. Maneater File Photo

After a loss to No. 23 Auburn last week, Missouri gymnastics took home a win Friday when it knocked off No. 10 Arkansas.

The meet recognized breast cancer awareness in the annual Pink Out meet. The Tigers had an apparel sale to raise money for the cause leading up to the meet.

Mizzou came out strong starting with their energetic entrances to the meet. They performed short dances and gave out high fives, wearing their breast cancer awareness gear. which led into the first rotation of vault and uneven parallel bars. Missouri beat Arkansas in vault 49.025 to 48.975. Although Arkansas’ Braie Speed was the highest scoring individual in vault with an impressive 9.9, Mizzou’s scores were more consistent across the board, leading the Tigers to score 0.05 points higher in vault.

After a rocky start to the season in her first meet, redshirt sophomore Morgan Porter showed she was back and ready to perform after her injury last year. She took the top score in bars, posting a 9.9, which sent the crowd wild when she stuck the landing to her performance.

Mizzou went into the second rotation with a 0.175 lead and continued to perform well. This rotation consisted of beam and floor routines from Britney Ward, Aspen Tucker and Allison Bower, who all scored higher than 9.8. Tucker earned the highest all around results for Mizzou, scoring a total of 39.175 for all her events combined.

Ultimately, the meet came down to one final performance that determined if Mizzou or Arkansas would take home the win: senior Kennedi Harris’ floor routine. She did not know going into her performance that she needed to score a 9.75 or higher to secure a win for the Tigers, however, as she likes to turn her back to the scorers table before she steps on the mat to avoid putting too much pressure on herself.

Head coach Shannon Welker knew that Harris had to perform well, but he was confident she would be able to pull off a high scoring performance.

“I knew she needed to hit in order for us to win, or have a shot at winning,” Welker said via a press release. “But she’s been in that situation many, many times over her career and I think she’s done a pretty good job in that role. That’s why she’s at the end; that’s why she’s our closer.”

Harris blew the crowd away with a 9.925 performance. Her teammates ran to her the second her routine was finished and embraced her.

The final score for the Pink Out meet was Mizzou 196.325, Arkansas 196.150.

Next up, the Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to face No. 9 Alabama on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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