Blog: Coaches' Update on Tigers' Off-season Preparation

The 2013-14 Mizzou Gymnastics exhibition contest against Lindenwood University is only weeks away, as Tigers fans will soon have their first glimpse of this season's squad.

 

Over the past few months, head coach Shannon Welker and his staff have heightened the intensity at practices inside the Tiger Performance Complex (TPC). A handful of inter-squad meets between the Mizzou gymnasts has helped simulate the game day atmosphere that they will see this year at the Hearnes Center.

 

The continued hard work at the TPC has the Tigers primed for a successful season, as they prepare for their second year in the competitive Southeastern Conference (SEC).

 

Since the team began their off-season practices and conditioning this fall, Welker has been pleased with the progression he has seen from the Mizzou gymnasts.


"Every week we see significant progress in skill development, execution and mental toughness," said Welker. "The strides this team has made, and will continue to make have been impressive."

 

Assistant Coach Casey Jo Magee, has also noticed the hard work and dedication from the Tigers student-athletes so far this off-season.

 

"The girls have been pushing themselves on a daily basis to improve, and it has really shown so far," said Magee. "They are making big strides in preparing for the upcoming season, and although we still have some work to do before our exhibition meet against Lindenwood, I know we will get there. They have good attitudes and are committed to reaching the goals we set before the year began, so it is a fun atmosphere to be around."

 

This season marks the first year in Columbia for each member of the Mizzou Gymnastics coaching staff. As a group, the staff has laid out expectations and goals for their student-athletes for the upcoming season.

 

Welker in particular, has stressed the idea of creating a "championship culture" around the Mizzou Gymnastics program.

 

"We look for and expect our team to transfer the confidence and energy with which they train into competition settings," said Welker. "These ladies are very prepared, and we know they can 110-percent when the spotlights are on them!"

 

On Sunday, Dec. 8 against Lindenwood, Tigers gymnastics fans will finally get to see first-hand this year's collection of gymnasts. Magee notes that this group of girls will bring a new sense of excitement and energy to the Hearnes Center each meet.

 

"We want to show the fans a motivated and energetic group of Tigers!" said Magee. "We want to give the crowd a reason to get involved, and to get them on their feet and be loud!"

A Minute with the Manager: Week 7 Update

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Tiger fans,

It's been a little longer since my last post, but that does not mean things have slowed down over here with women's basketball. If you have not been able to make it out to a game yet, there is still time. We are only 3 games in (not counting exhibition), and conference play does not start up at home until January 5, 2014.

We won both of our exhibition games after beating Quincy on Nov. 5th, and after our first away game against St. Louis on Nov. 8th followed by two home games (SIUE Nov.10, Evansville Nov.14) we are 3-0 on the season.

I typically do not travel with the team when they are away, but I followed the St. Louis game on my iPhone with the ESPN app. You can download this app for free, make an account, and add the Missouri Women to your favorite teams too if you want to keep up with them on the road. It is always crucial getting that first road win, and I am glad we were able to.

So far the most exciting home game to me has been our latest against Evansville. I thought everyone played well and played well together. It was a good chance for the crowd to see what I see our bench do well in practice day in and day out.

Morgan Stock has been shooting lights out from the 3-point line these past few weeks in practice, and she matched her career high of 15 last game which she just beat this season after a career high of 7 points last season. We have a lot of good 3-point shooters on our team, and I think after Morgan Eye's success last year, she won't be the only name buzzing on the other schools' scouting reports.

We honored our hometown heroes last game as we celebrated Veteran's Day that week. Our program featured sophomore forward Darian Saunders whom I had the joy of writing about for the feature story. In the interview with Darian I learned a lot about heroes she holds close to her heart, and how she wants be a hero in the lives of others as well.

Her dad serves in the U.S. military, and my parents are retired Air Force. We honored our military heroes on Veteran's Day, but I invite you all this week to honor anyone who has been a hero in your life, as well as think about how you can be a hero in anyone else's life. We all could use a hero every now and then.

Come be our heroes in the stands tomorrow night at 7pm as we seek another win against Southeast Missouri State on our home court at Mizzou Arena.

A Minute with the Manager: Week 7 Update

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Tiger fans,

It's been a little longer since my last post, but that does not mean things have slowed down over here with women's basketball. If you have not been able to make it out to a game yet, there is still time. We are only 3 games in (not counting exhibition), and conference play does not start up at home until January 5, 2014.

We won both of our exhibition games after beating Quincy on Nov. 5th, and after our first away game against St. Louis on Nov. 8th followed by two home games (SIUE Nov.10, Evansville Nov.14) we are 3-0 on the season.

I typically do not travel with the team when they are away, but I followed the St. Louis game on my iPhone with the ESPN app. You can download this app for free, make an account, and add the Missouri Women to your favorite teams too if you want to keep up with them on the road. It is always crucial getting that first road win, and I am glad we were able to.

So far the most exciting home game to me has been our latest against Evansville. I thought everyone played well and played well together. It was a good chance for the crowd to see what I see our bench do well in practice day in and day out.

Morgan Stock has been shooting lights out from the 3-point line these past few weeks in practice, and she matched her career high of 15 last game which she just beat this season after a career high of 7 points last season. We have a lot of good 3-point shooters on our team, and I think after Morgan Eye's success last year, she won't be the only name buzzing on the other schools' scouting reports.

We honored our hometown heroes last game as we celebrated Veteran's Day that week. Our program featured sophomore forward Darian Saunders whom I had the joy of writing about for the feature story. In the interview with Darian I learned a lot about heroes she holds close to her heart, and how she wants be a hero in the lives of others as well.

Her dad serves in the U.S. military, and my parents are retired Air Force. We honored our military heroes on Veteran's Day, but I invite you all this week to honor anyone who has been a hero in your life, as well as think about how you can be a hero in anyone else's life. We all could use a hero every now and then.

Come be our heroes in the stands tomorrow night at 7pm as we seek another win against Southeast Missouri State on our home court at Mizzou Arena.

A Minute with the Manager: Week 5 Wrap Up

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  Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

A Minute with the Manager: Week 5 Wrap Up

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  Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

A Minute with the Manager: Week 5 Wrap Up

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
  Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

A Minute with the Manager: Week 5 Wrap Up

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
 

Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

A Minute with the Manager: Week 5 Wrap Up

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
 

Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

| No Comments | No TrackBacks
 

Hey Tiger Fans,

We are beginning our 6th week of practices here at Mizzou Arena, and what better way to have started off the week than by winning our first exhibition game against Southwest Baptist last Tuesday!

I saw a lot of familiar faces out in the crowd, and it just felt really good to know that basketball season is finally back.

 20131029_mu_benwalton_wbb_swbaptist_151.jpg

Before I talk about the game, I wanted to let you guys in on our game day routine.

First we have a shoot around generally five hours before tipoff. The girls enter with a song playlist to get them pumped up. The court is usually already set up for the game, and I like that because I feel it aids to our game day focus. After some shooting drills, the team reviews offenses and defenses as well as go over the scouting report for the opposing team.

My favorite part is what comes after, the pre-game meal! I like to hear the girls talk about what positives they are shooting for in each particular game. When they are almost done eating Coach Porter comes in to speak to them, usually providing a devotional. On Tuesday he talked to them about having a strong foundation. He used a tri-pod as an example which I can actually relate to with filming practices. I thought that was funny, but he said if one leg of the tri-pod isn't standing, the tri-pod cannot fulfill its purpose, which is true. It was a good way to reflect on our own lives knowing that with a proper foundation, we too would be able to fulfill our purpose.  The girls end on a prayer and everyone comes back later to prepare for the game. We are able to take the floor one hour before tipoff.

I arrive an hour and a half before to setup, and take care of some of my manager duties.

Alex, one of our other managers and myself, are helping two of our new managers transition into the program. They are freshmen who will take our place upon graduation. Their names are Katie and Rachel.

On Tuesday I arrived earlier to assist them in our typical game day routine. I cannot believe after four years that was the last first game I will ever help set up for! But the main reason I am sharing this with you all is because I noticed after going over the process step by step with them, there really is a lot that goes into making these game days possible.

Watching event staff, media relations, game day operations, coaches, players, referees, trainers, fans, Tiger Paws, and everyone else, I could not help but to feel so much appreciation. The game day atmosphere is really a special thing. The next time you find yourself at a game be sure to send out a few extra thank you's to anyone lending a helping hand!

You can read the recap of our 79-53 win over Southwest Baptist on mutigers.com, but be sure to make it out to Mizzou Arena TOMORROW when we take on Quincy Illinois at 7p.m.!

Until then Tiger Fans,

Jordan

Blog: Tigers Freshman Make The Transition To Columbia

Throughout the University of Missouri-Columbia campus this weekend, many will be celebrating the first quarter of the school year with homecoming festivities. With the first two months of the 2013-14 school year in the books, the freshman class at Mizzou will soon be concluding their first semester in Columbia.

For the five freshman student-athletes within the Mizzou Gymnastics team, the transition from high school to college has needless to say been a whirlwind of emotions.

Anna Bowers (Matthews, N.C.), Alyson Heimsath (Houston, Texas), Angie Kern (Columbia, Mo.), Lark Pokladnik (Dallas, Texas), and Sasha Sander (Cincinnati, Ohio) all make up the current Tigers gymnastics freshman class. For each student-athlete, the experiences they've faced so far in the new collegiate atmosphere have varied.

"The first couple of months here have definitely been an adventure," said Kern. "Getting into the groove of everything from gymnastics practice, to academics, has been tough but I wouldn't change it for anything else."

Similar to her teammate, Sander notes the challenges of managing the athletics lifestyle and the academics expectations for collegiate student-athletes.

"These first months are truly ones to remember," said Sander. "There have been a lot of transition with learning how to work through a busy schedule, and finding ways to balance school and athletics."

"It has only been a couple months, but I already feel right at home and I know I'm part of something very special here at Mizzou."

Up to this point in their gymnastics career, the five freshman have experienced practices and competitions primarily within their club teams back home. As they enter the collegiate world of gymnastics and will compete against perennial power teams inside the Southeastern Conference (SEC), they know what challenges lie ahead of them.

During these first months of practices and inter-squads at the Tiger Performance Complex, the freshman class have immediately noticed the differences between the club and college atmosphere.

"It's way different," said Heimsath. "Doing gymnastics in high school is more for yourself, and getting better. College is all about the team. You work hard every day to better the team, and continue to push your teammates."

Bowers has also quickly taken in the "team" aspect of collegiate gymnastics here at Mizzou.

"The biggest transition from club to college is putting your teammates before yourself, and realizing that everything you do has an effect on the team," said Bowers. "Once you understand this you will then be ready to successfully make that transition."

As the freshman on the Mizzou roster continue their preparation for the exhibition opener on Dec. 8, 2013 against Lindenwood, they all are looking forward to the challenges ahead of them.

"I'm looking forward to competing, and being within a team atmosphere," said Pokladnik. "The SEC is no joke, so we will need all the support we can get from each other and the Mizzou fans. I believe this will be a great season, and that we will make a name for ourselves within Mizzou athletics!"

For the latest information on all things Mizzou Gymnastics, check-in to MUTigers.com. You can also follow the Tigers on social media, by liking us on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Instagram.

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