Gymnastics Lucky in Vegas? Not Really.

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Most people need a lot of luck on their side to leave Las Vegas a big winner. However, it was not luck that gave the No. 15 gymnastics team its big win on Friday night, it was pure determination, perseverance and talent.

After the coaches draw that took place on Thursday during the practice session, the Tigers found out they would start the Lady Luck Invitational on beam. Many teams would not want to start a meet on beam, but Mizzou saw it as an advantage.

The meet started with No. 16 LSU on vault, No. 14 Kentucky on bars, Arizona State on floor and of course Missouri on beam. It was, just as thought, an advantage for the Tigers as they posted the highest beam score of the night (48.900). The rotation was capped by senior All-American Sarah Shire's 9.900. At the end of the first rotation Missouri trailed LSU (49.375) and Kentucky (49.275).

The Tigers moved into second after the second rotation and cut LSU's lead to four tenths of a point heading into the fourth and final rotation. The win was within reach for Missouri as they headed to bars.

Freshman Lauren Swankoski led the team off with a 9.675 and the scores just got higher with each routine. By the time the reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, sophomore Mary Burke, mounted the bars in the fifth spot, it was possible to end the night with two huge scores. Burke did not disappoint posting a new career high 9.925. Last up was Shire, who had an uncharacteristic fall off the event the week before, but this week she was on. How on? She posted a 9.950, the highest score on the event in Missouri program history. The team finished with a 49.200 on bars and a 195.625 overall, but they had to wait and watch as LSU finished the night on floor.

As the announcer presented the individual awards on each event, word spread that Mizzou had done enough to win it. They continued waiting and then it was time for the big announcement. The team finishing first in the 2010 Lady Luck Invitational was the Tigers. Not the Tigers from Louisiana but the ones from Missouri.

Kentucky finished second (195.525), LSU third (195.350) and Arizona State fourth (192.675). The win was the first over LSU since 1992, the third in a row over Arizona State and the 12th all-time against Kentucky.

The Tigers flew home to Missouri Saturday the big winners. Unlike many others, they were not made winners in Vegas by just hoping to get lucky. There was no need to. They already possessed all the luck they needed.

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