Missouri gymnastics beats New Hampshire
The team hopes to continue working on performance consistency.
Feb. 09, 2010
The Hearnes Center played host to the fourth annual Beauty and the Beast meet Saturday night, where No. 14 Missouri out-muscled visiting New Hampshire 195.125-192.975.
Sophomore Mary Burke and senior Sarah Shire's all-around efforts (39.250 and 39.275, respectively) paved the road for a Missouri home victory as the Tigers successfully rebounded after losing to Nebraska last weekend.
"Tonight was definitely a better showing than we had last week, but it still wasn't nearly where we were two weeks ago and not where we want to be as the season progresses," said Shire, who was the meet's top all-around gymnast for the 14th time in her collegiate career.
Coach Rob Drass said the loss to Nebraska was a learning experience, and Saturday's meet helped the team mature as a whole.
"What we try to do is learn some lesson from what we can control, dump all the rest, and apply it," Drass said. "I think we grew a little bit tonight."
The Beauty and the Beast meet itself consisted of Missouri's gymnasts dueling with New Hampshire, while the Tiger wrestlers engaged in battle against Big 12 enemy Oklahoma.
As a result, 4,041 spectators, the largest attendance thus far for a gymnastics meet, came to view the unique event.
Despite the close proximity to the wrestlers and the whole arena being louder and more disorderly than usual, Shire said the team liked the crowd.
"It is a little more distracting, but it's a good distraction," Shire said. "We work so hard and we want to show it off to as many people as possible."
Burke agreed with her teammate.
"It was exciting more than anything, and it's fun to compete in front of a big crowd like that," Burke said.
During their last home meet against Iowa State on Jan. 22, the Tigers devoured the season's then-largest crowd's energy and jumped to an early lead. With Saturday night's fans coming to see either Missouri's wrestling or the gymnastics team, the Hearnes Center crowd provided a similar atmosphere for the Tigers to leap to another early lead. After the first rotation, Missouri took a narrow .300 advantage over the Wildcats, 48.875-48.575.
From then on, the Tigers stiff-armed New Hampshire, doing well enough on each event to keep the Wildcats from clawing back as Missouri gradually built close to a one-point lead before the start of the final rotation, 145.875-144.950.
The Tigers' best performances came on floor exercise, especially from Shire (9.900) and freshmen Lauren Swankoski (9.875), which ensured the victory.
Drass said the win was not ugly, but the team's showing did not provide the most beautiful portion possible for the Beauty and the Beast meet.
"To be the team we want to be, we have to learn to how to deliver the performance all the way across all the time," Drass said. "I think the consistency isn't quite there. I think to deliver that big performance on every event every night and to get that to be the expectation and get that to be the norm, we've got to be more consistent."
Shire and Burke were the top two gymnasts in the all-around and accounted for all the meet's event titles with Burke taking uneven bars, Shire winning floor exercise and vault and both tying on balance beam.
Their teamwork was largely responsible for Missouri improving to 6-1.
"(Shire) pushes me everyday to go in and work hard," Burke said. "Just to have someone like that on your team is amazing, and we just feed off each other."