The Maneater

Tigers gymnastics falters in top-10 matchup against Alabama

Morgan Porter went down with an injury, and Britney Ward matched her career high on vault.

Junior Kennedi Harris leaps during her floor routine at home against Alabama. The final meet scores were 197.225 for Alabama and 195.500 for Mizzou.

A shaky bars rotation spelled doom for Mizzou gymnastics Friday night, as it fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. No. 4 Alabama came to the Hearnes Center and took care of business, leaving with a 197.225-195.500 victory.

A packed house was on hand to watch the matchup of two of the nation’s best, and the night started with a bang when Britney Ward tied her career high on vault with a 9.95. That mark ties her for fourth in program history on vault.

“There was so much energy in the building, so I was really pumped before I went, and I was ready to just go have some fun,” Ward said.

The next rotation on bars was a step back for the Tigers, with Becca Schugel and Madeleine Huber both falling during their routines. The Tigers would finish with a score of 48.050 for the rotation, allowing Alabama to pull away.

Mizzou was able to bounce back, closing out the night with solid beam and floor routines. Schugel delivered steadying performances, receiving a 9.8 on vault and 9.75 on floor. Brooke Kelly looked fluid and relaxed during her beam routine, tying her career high of 9.875.

Kennedi Harris continued what has been a hot start to the season, posting a 9.9 on floor. Aspen Tucker had herself a night, winning the all-around title after scoring a career-high 39.325. Tucker still sees room to improve.

“I feel like all I can do is keep building from here and make the little corrections to get better,” Tucker said.

Most worrisome is the injury to Morgan Porter. Porter injured herself while warming up for her floor routine and appeared to grab the area by her achilles tendon. She needed to be helped off the floor and later returned on crutches. The extent of her injury is still unknown.

Friday night will be a learning lesson for the young Mizzou squad. Ward believes the meet will help the Tigers going forward.

“We had a few setbacks in this meet, but we didn’t let them show,” Ward said. “We came to beam and put bars behind us and moved forward. That shows our toughness, and I think we’re ready to roll from here on out.”

Mizzou travels to Athens Jan. 27 to face No. 16 Georgia. The meet starts at 6 p.m. as the Tigers look to improve to 2-1 in a stacked Southeastern Conference.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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