The Maneater

Program best score on beam for gymnastics powers Tigers to victory

The team also hit a season-high 49.400 on floor.

Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics Mizzou Athletics

Missouri gymnastics kept rolling Friday, putting up a score of 197 for the second week in a row. The Tigers trailed the No. 12 Kentucky Wildcats heading into the final rotation, but they came from behind to win 197.150-196.925 at Hearnes Center.

Missouri was powered by a program-best 49.500 score on beam. Sophomore Britney Ward performed an excellent beam routine, notching a career-high 9.975. Her showing marks her third consecutive meet with a score of 9.95 or higher on beam.

“It was so fun,” Ward said. “Going into beam, I was super relaxed because I knew all five had hit before me. I was just trying to say calm during the routine, breathe after each skill and just transfer what I did in practice. I think it worked out.”

One of the two judges gave Ward a perfect 10, and the crowd was chanting for the perfect score.

“Boy, I don’t know where the half-10th that judge took was,” coach Shannon Welker said. “I don’t think we’ve seen those 10s in here in a long time. It was nice to see at least one; I obviously am biased and think she deserved two.”

Juniors Brooke Kelly and Becca Schugel both posted career highs of 9.925 and 9.9, respectively.

The Tigers closed the meet on floor, scoring a season-high 49.400.

“I was really looking at how is floor going to end up because we had a fall,” Welker said. “I knew if we hit that, we were going to get the meet, and it was close. It was neat to see a couple of my leaders and a couple of kids that have been getting it done all year really step up and shine in the limelight.”

Schugel and junior Kennedi Harris have been two of Missouri’s leaders this season. Schugel saved her best for last, scoring a career-high 9.925 on floor. Harris recorded a 9.9, her seventh score of 9.9 or higher on the season.

“She just has confidence about her and a presence,” Welker said about Schugel. “A lot of it is offseason training, hard work and belief. I wasn’t shocked she did that quite honestly; that’s what she shows me pretty much every day in the gym.”

The Tigers travel to Jacksonville, Florida on Saturday for the Southeastern Conference Championship, where they will compete against Kentucky, No. 20 Auburn and Arkansas in the first session.

“We’re on the upward climb,” Schugel said. “I think there’s so much more to come from this team still. I’m really excited.”

Edited by Eli Lederman |

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