Missouri gymnastics falls to Georgia despite winning two events

Senior Madeleine Huber and junior Aspen Tucker each won individual event titles, while earning career-highs on bars and floor.
An image from the Missouri vs. Georgia gymnastics meet on Friday, Feb. 8, 2019. Skyler Navarro

No. 13 Missouri gymnastics (4-6. 1-4 SEC) fell to No. 6 Georgia Friday night at Hearnes Center.

The Bulldogs finished .400 ahead, defeating the Tigers 196.300 to 195.900. Missouri earned higher scores on bars and floor, while Georgia won vault and beam, led by junior Rachel Dickson, who won the all-round competition and vault, as well as tying for first on bars.

“I thought we had a lot of good things,” Missouri coach Shannon Welker said. “There were definitely some ladies who stepped up tonight and did a good job, but you have to put the whole package together. We counted a fall and that was the difference. We have to find ways to overcome adversity and get the job done.”

The Tigers started off the meet with a 48.875 on vault. Junior Aspen Tucker led Missouri with a 9.850. Senior Madeleine Huber and sophomore Gabrielle Gottula earned scores of 9.825 and 9.800, respectively. Redshirt junior Morgan Porter and sophomore Chelsey Christensen each had 9.650s. Freshman Frances Bidwell made her collegiate debut on vault, scoring a 9.75.

“I thought Frannie Bidwell did a nice job on vault tonight for us,” Welker said. “That was her first vault, so I think the score needs to improve. I certainly think that was a good first showing. She’s going to definitely continue to grow there.”

Huber led the Tigers on bars with a 9.900, tying for first with Georgia’s Dickson. Senior Becca Schugel and Porter scored 9.850s, while Christensen had a 9.800 and Tucker had a 9.750. MIssouri finished with a season-high 49.150 on bars.

“I thought bars was another good event for us tonight,” Welker said. “We did a much better job tonight overall on hitting handstands, and we stuck some more dismounts tonight. For bars, what’s key is getting those two things done and so they did a nice job. Obviously the back end of our lineup did a nice job too. Madeleine Huber had a really excellent routine tonight.”

The Tigers notched a 48.600 on beam. Gottula scored a career-high 9.875. Senior Brooke Kelly and Tucker both earned 9.800s. Senior Allison Bower scored a 9.700, while Porter had a 9.325.

“Coming back from our adversity on beam, since we struggled a little bit,” Tucker said. “I felt like coming back on floor, we kind of showed that we still can hang. Even though we made a couple mistakes, we can come back stronger.”

Missouri earned another season-high on floor, scoring a 49.275. Tucker won the event with a career-high of 9.925. Bower and Huber each contributed 9.875s. Senior Michaelee Turner and Porter scored 9.825 and 9.775, respectively.

“That might have been one of her best routines this year, score or no score,” Welker said. “I always just look at the performance because sometimes you get some subjectivity to it. I definitely think if that was her highest score that was definitely her best routine of the year. I thought she really did a nice job.”

The Tigers will be back in action Friday at the Mardi Gras Invitational in St. Charles, Missouri. Missouri will be up against two of the top-five teams in the country, No. 4 Utah and No. 5 LSU, as well as No. 24 Stanford.

“It’s a home meet for us quite honestly,” Welker said. “It’s in St. Louis. We have a ton of fans over there, and it’s really exciting. We’ve been going to it for the last couple of years, so it should be a great opportunity for us to kind of bounce back from a little bit of a rough go tonight and get moving.”

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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