Tigers Advance to Nationals

MUTIGERS.COM Senior All-American Sarah Shire won the all-around with a 39.625.
Senior All-American Sarah Shire won the all-around with a 39.625.

April 10, 2010

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 15 Tigers (17-5) have believed all year that they were the team to break Missouri's drought of ending the season at regionals. They were right. Missouri (196.500) finished first in the Columbia Regional to advance to the NCAA National Championships for the first time ahead of No. 8 Oregon State (196.275/235.200), No. 5 Georgia (196.275/234.800), No 25 Minnesota (195.000), No. 30 Iowa (194.900) and No. 36 North Carolina (194.750). Senior All-American Sarah Shire (Columbia, Mo.) took first in the all-around competition (39.625) to set a new Missouri record of 11 all-around wins in a season.

By the luck of the draw the Tigers started the night on vault just like a normal home meet. Senior Becky Scholle (Chesterfield, Mo.) got it started for Missouri with a 9.725 followed by a 9.775 from freshman Lauren Swankoski (Chadds Ford, Pa.). Senior Danielle Guider (Nutley, N.J.) went next for the Tigers and tied her season-high 9.825, which set up a career-high tying 9.850 from sophomore Mary Burke (Inverness, Ill.). Junior Alex Gold (Plano, Texas) landed a huge vault that scored a new season-high 9.990. Shire closed out the rotation with the best vault of the season that set a new season high and tied her career-high 9.950. Missouri totaled a new season-high 49.300 on vault to take the lead after the first rotation with Oregon State in second (49.225).

The Tigers had to wait during the second rotation as they had a bye before going to bars in the third rotation. Sophomore Allie Heizelman (Cypress, Texas) started the team off on bars with a 9.775. Guider and Swankoski followed each with a score of 9.825, which tied both of their career highs. Burke scored a 9.800 while Shire finished it off for the team with a 9.900. The Tigers earned a 49.125 on bars to stay in the lead after three rotations with a 98.425. Georgia had moved into second (98.350) and Oregon State sat in third (98.225).

Senior Brooke Boehmer (Overland Park, Kan.) led the Tigers off with a 9.750 on beam, which was followed by freshman Tori Howard (Chesterfield, Mo.) who tied her career high with the same score. Guider went next and earned a 9.800 making way for Burke who posted a 9.825. Once again Shire finished out the rotation for Missouri earning a 9.875. The Tigers totaled a 49.000 on beam to retain the slight lead with a 147.425. Georgia had a 147.100 up to this point and Oregon State ended the meet on a bye giving them a 196.275, while the Tigers still had one rotation to go.

Heading into the sixth and final rotation the Tigers needed a 48.900 on floor to tie Oregon State, while Georgia needed a 49.175 on beam to tie. Gold went first for Missouri and earned a 9.825, she was followed by Howard who scored 9.775. Guider and Swankoski held down the middle of the lineup with a 9.825 and a 9.750, respectively. Burke went next with a 9.625 leaving it all up to Shire to make Missouri history. Shire took the challenge head on and proved why she is one of the best gymnasts in the country by scoring a 9.900 to give the Tigers a 49.075 on floor and a 196.500 total.

Meanwhile, Georgia scored a 49.075 on beam to tie Oregon State with a 196.275 total. At that point the tiebreaker rule went into effect, which calls for all six scores on all four events to count and the highest team score at that point advances. With that being the case, Oregon State earned a 235.200 and Georgia a 234.800 giving Oregon State the second place finish to advance with Missouri to nationals.

Shire finished first in the all-around with an impressive 39.625 to win her 24th all-around title of her career. Guider finished third tying her career-high 39.275 and Burke finished tied for fifth with a 39.100.

Shire finished first on vault (9.950), while tying for top honors on bars (9.900) and floor (9.900). Her all-around and vault score set a new Missouri regional record and she tied for the record on bars and floor. The team score of 196.500 is a new Missouri regional record replacing the previous record of 196.000 set last year and the second-highest team score this season. The season-high vault score of 49.300 is a new regional record as well and the fifth best vault score in school history. At the end of the meet Shire was named the South Central Region Gymnast of the Year for the second year in a row.

Missouri will have a little over a week to prepare for nationals before the competition begins on Thursday, April 22 in Gainesville, Fla.



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