Missouri gymnastics kicks off 2018 season with a solid performance despite loss to No. 23 Auburn

Mizzou scored at least 9.8 nine times but fell to an Auburn team firing on all cylinders.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri gymnastics started the 2018 season off on the right foot, scoring 194.875 points in its meet against No. 23 Auburn on Friday.

The score would have been high enough to rank No. 13 in the nation had it been achieved before the rankings were published Tuesday, and it certainly bodes well for the program, which enters the season with high expectations after returning 94 percent of its routines from 2017.

The only problem was that Auburn scored even more.

Despite Mizzou’s formidable showing on Friday, the home crowd in Auburn, Alabama, was able to enjoy an emphatic victory in which its team outscored Mizzou in every rotation, resulting in a commanding final scoreline of 196.625.

Auburn sophomores Katie Becker and Gracie Day starred for the Tigers, who ended the meet with 16 scores of 9.8 or higher, including four scores of at least 9.9. Auburn recorded a score of at least 49 in all four rotations, led by a 49.3 in the bars.

While Mizzou lost by a margin of almost two points, there was still plenty to celebrate from its season opener. Junior Allison Bower’s 9.875 on the vault was the Tigers’ highest-scoring routine of the night and was joined by eight additional scores of 9.8 or higher. Additionally, sophomore Aspen Tucker had the highest all-around performance of the meet with a score of 38.95.

“I was pleased with most of the events,” head coach Shannon Welker said in a press release. “To open the year, I thought we did well. I thought bars was good; I thought vault was pretty solid. Floor was OK. And beam, the routines we hit were good, but we had a couple errors there that cost us a little bit. I think overall I was pleased and we have to grow from here. It's a good first step.”

Redshirt sophomore Morgan Porter had a quiet night in her first competitive meet since she suffered a season-ending injury a year ago. The former SEC Freshman of the Year fell during her bars routine and then posted a score of 9.7 on the vault.

Mizzou will return to Hearnes Center next week for its home opener against Arkansas on Jan. 19. The meet is set to start at 6:45 p.m. CT.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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