April 4, 2009
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Columbia natives junior Sarah Shire and senior Adrianne Perry are headed to the NCAA National competition in Lincoln, Neb. later this month after all-around scores of 39.450 and 39.350, respectively. Shire finished in second place in the all-around competition and was named Regional Gymnast of the Year, while Perry tied for fourth. This is Perry's fourth appearance in as many years -- the first Tiger gymnast to accomplish that feat.
The No. 15 Missouri Tigers finished in third place with a team score of 196.000, including a season-high 49.350 on the uneven bars. The 196 total is the program's highest ever at an NCAA Regional. Host and No. 3 Alabama took the crown with a 197.000 tally, while conference foe and No. 9 Oklahoma took the second team nationals berth after a 196.600.
Missouri started on the floor exercise for only the second time this season, but showed no signs of opening rotation nerves, collaborating on a 48.925. Sophomore Alex Gold (Plano, Texas) got the first taste of competition for the night, leading off with a 9.7 for the Tigers. Junior Danielle Guider (Nutley, N.J.) kept the momentum up in an energetic routine that scored a 9.75, while freshman Mary Burke (Inverness, Ill.) gave a solid routine of her own for a 9.775. To close, Shire and Perry put up a clutch pair of 9.85's in two big routines to lead the Tigers.
After the first round, Missouri found themselves in second place behind the Sooners' 49.125 tally on bars. Alabama and Central Michigan had a bye in the first round; Maryland found themselves in third, while New Hampshire rounded out the team standings.
The Tigers headed to vault, where a solid string of clean vaults garnered a 48.725. Guider started the Tigers off with a 9.6, while junior Becky Scholle
(Chesterfield, Mo.) added a 9.625. Gold and Burke knocked out a pair of big vaults for a couple of 9.75's. Perry upped the game, throwing a 9.775, while Shire gave Missouri their biggest performance for a 9.825.
The Sooners still held on to the lead after the second rotation, 98.100 to 97.650 over the Tigers. High-energy performances on floor for Alabama earned them a 49.325 on their first event of the night. Missouri took a break from the competition, as they sat out the third rotation with a scheduled bye.
The Tigers didn't just get back into action in the fourth rotation, they rallied for their highest event total of the year: a 49.350 on the uneven bars. The score is their highest all-time at Regional meet and third-highest in program history. Scholle again gave the Tigers a solid performance in the leadoff spot, this time for a 9.75. Freshman Allie Heizelman (Cypress, Texas) hit her routine for a 9.8, just shy of her season and career high. It was another freshman, Burke, who set the tone for the Tigers: a 9.9 routine -- a new season and career high. Perry and Shire refused to let go of that momentum, giving big routines of their own for a pair of 9.875's. And in her last meet as a Tiger, Hatcher reached her big goal in a sparkling routine: a 9.9 on bars -- a new career and season high.
Despite the big scores, the Tigers still found themselves trailing going into the final rotation. Oklahoma posted a 49.325 on floor behind a trio of 9.875 routines to make their score a 147.425 and lead the Tigers by just over four-tenths.
The Tigers hit some big routines in their final rotation on beam for a team total of 49.0, but it wouldn't be enough to catch Oklahoma or Alabama for a national berth. Guider gave Missouri a very clean early routine that earned a 9.8, a new season high to tie the junior's career mark. Junior Brooke Boehmer (Overland Park, Kan.) gave the Tigers another big 9.8, while Hatcher followed with a 9.65. Perry hit a big routine for a 9.85, while Shire closed out Missouri's show with another clutch routine for a 9.9.
Alabama highlighted the last rotation with a 49.350 showing on the balance beam to cement their total at 197.000.
Stay with mutigers.com for news and updates going into NCAA National competition in two weeks.