COLUMBIA, Mo. - With the 2014 Mizzou gymnastics season in the books, the Tigers gymnasts have begun their off-season conditioning and practice. Each week, Mizzou Athletics will check-in with current members of the gymnastics roster and look into their personal workouts.
In the inaugural edition, we sat down with sophomore Rachel Henderson. The Oklahoma City, Oklahoma native sat out this past year, after suffering a season-ending injury at the Black and Gold preseason meet on Dec. 8.
Throughout virtually the entire 2014 competition season, Henderson was limited to cheering on her teammates on the sidelines. The slow and long recovery from her knee surgery involved a lot of time spent on crutches and limited gymnastics activities.
Following the 2014 SEC Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, Henderson began conducting physical rehabilitation. In time, she has even got back into the groove of normal gymnastics activities.
"I am running and sprinting now, and I just started small lateral movements such as side lunges," said Henderson. "I also started practicing again on bars, as that is the most stress free gymnastics activity on my knee at this point."
Last season in her Tigers freshmen campaign, Henderson competed in all but one meet. As the 2013 season moved along, she became a mainstay on the Mizzou beam lineup which included a career-high score of 9.775 at Arizona.
The 2013 season saw an array of devastating injuries for many Tigers gymnasts. While Henderson enjoyed a healthy freshmen year, she was able to observe how injured teammates such as Katelyn Trevino, Rebecca Johnson and Briana Conkle handled their tough circumstances.
Little did Henderson know, the following year she would be thrown into the same situation that so many of her teammates had to deal with in the past. The ability to see how her teammates handled an injury riddled season helped her contribute on the sidelines for the Tigers in 2014.
"I played more of an energy and support role this past year," said Henderson. "I tried to bring as much energy as I could at both meets and practices. Being there every day for my teammates when they needed my support was big as well."
Henderson and her teammates are all just weeks away from completing their 2013-14 school year at the University of Missouri. While the academics side of being a student-athlete will conclude shortly, the Tigers gymnasts will continue their athletics preparation for the 2015 campaign.
"We are doing a lot of new things, as far as conditioning and 'Challenge Fridays' at the Tiger Performance Complex," said Henderson. "For me personally, getting back into the shape I was in before my injury is key. Proper nutrition and fitness is at the front of my mind right now, along with putting together new and clean gymnastics routines for next season!"
Stay tuned to MUTigers.com for more Mizzou Gymnastics off-season updates. You can also follow the Tigers on social media, by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter (@TigerGymnastics) and Instagram (@Mizzou_Gymnastics).