Tigers Set Out for Nationals

MUTIGERS.COM Senior All-American Sarah Shire will look to earn All-America honors for the second year in a row.
Senior All-American Sarah Shire will look to earn All-America honors for the second year in a row.

April 21, 2010

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – At the beginning of the year the Missouri gymnastics team sat down together to discuss their goals for the season. The two biggest goals included winning the Big 12 Championship and qualifying as a team for nationals.

They fell short of the first goal by finishing third at the Big 12 Championships, but that just gave them more fuel to get back in the gym and work to be the first Missouri team to advance to the NCAA National Championships.

That third place finish may be the best thing to ever happen to Missouri gymnastics. The Tigers finished first at the Columbia Regional on April 10 with a new Missouri regional-record 196.500. Not only did the team win Missouri’s first NCAA Regional but they accomplished their main goal – qualify for nationals.

The 10th seeded Tigers will be competing for the first time at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships this Thursday, April 22 in Gainesville, Fla. Missouri will compete in the evening semifinal against Alabama, Stanford, Michigan, Arkansas and host Florida beginning at 6 p.m. (CST). The Super Six competition will be held on Friday, April 23, and the event finals on Saturday, April 24.

Stay tuned to mutigers.com for updates and results from the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Gainesville.

News and Notes

National Championships Preview
After six different regional championships across the country on April 10, the 12 advancing teams for the 2010 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships were determined. Missouri along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA and Utah will compete for the 2010 national crown at the University of Florida beginning on Thursday, April 22. The top-three finishing teams from each semifinal will move on to the Super Six competition on Friday, April 23. The top four individuals from each session in each event (plus ties) from the preliminary team and all-around competition will compete in the individual-event competition Saturday, April 24.



National rotations announced
The NCAA announced rotations for the 2010 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships on April 12. Based on Missouri’s National Qualifying Score (NQS), the team received the 10th seed and will compete in the evening session on Thursday, April 22. The Tigers will start the team competition with the bye before floor and proceed in Olympic order from there.
The process for determining rotation pairings for day one of the team competition was based on NQS, which is calculated by adding the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) to the score achieved at regional competition. Missouri finished with an RQS of 196.085 and earned a 196.500 at regionals to give them an NQS of 392.585. Brianna Artemev from the University of Denver has been seeded to rotate with Missouri as an individual all-around competitor. Artemev earned a 39.200 at the University Park Regional to qualify individually for nationals.
Missouri will compete against Alabama, Stanford, Michigan, Arkansas and host Florida in the evening semifinal.

The Columbia Regional
All 2,147 people in the Hearnes Center on April 10 witnessed Mizzou history as the Tigers won the Columbia Regional with a 196.500. The Tigers were the third seeded team at the regional and had heavy competition in five-time defending national champion No. 5 Georgia and No. 8 Oregon State. With the support of the home crowd and a favorable draw of starting the meet on vault, Missouri seized every opportunity given to them. A season-high 49.300 on vault set the tone and the team never looked back. Three events of 49+ later the Tigers were headed to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships for the first time in school history. The tears of joy said it all for a program that had competed in 22 regionals without ever making it to the big dance. The win over Georgia marked the first in six attempts for Missouri who kept the Gym Dogs from an appearance at nationals for the first time since 1983 and without the chance to defend their five straight national titles.

Last year at nationals
The Missouri Tigers ended the 2009 season in Tuscaloosa, Ala., after finishing third in the regional with a 196.000. However, Sarah Shire and Adrianne Perry finished second and third, respectively, in the all-around competition to advance to the national championships in Lincoln, Neb. It was Shire’s first time to qualify for nationals individually while it marked Perry’s fourth, making her the only Tiger to qualify every season for nationals.
At the championships, Perry ended her collegiate career as the first Tiger gymnast to ever become an All-American in the all-around. The senior was named to the All-America second team in the all-around for her 39.350 and to the All-America second team on floor, the first Missouri All-American on the event since Julie Dorn in 1990. Shire performed to expectations as well. She was named to the All-America first team on vault after posting a 9.900 and becoming the first Tiger to earn first-team status since Alisha Robinson in 2005. Shire went on to compete in the vault event final and ultimately finished 11th.

Shire breaks own record
Senior Sarah Shire has broken the Missouri record she set in 2009 for all-around wins in a season. As a junior, Shire won 10 all-around titles breaking the previous record of eight in a single-season. After her win with a score of 39.625 at the Columbia Regional, Shire has set the new record at 11 and bumped her previous record to second. Shire has one more chance to win another all-around title, which would make it an unprecedented 12 all-around titles in a season, but this last one would come in the form of a national championship.

Regional records replaced
A number of Missouri’s team and individual regional records were replaced at the Columbia Regional and understandably so as the Tigers are making their first NCAA National Championship appearance. The Tigers replaced the team record they set just last year of a 196.000 with a 196.500. The vault score of 49.250 that was set in 2004 in State College, Pa., now stands at a 49.300. Senior Sarah Shire set a new all-around and vault record with her 39.625 and 9.950 in the two categories. She also tied the bars (9.900) and floor (9.900) records.

Three Big 12 teams headed to nationals
The four Big 12 Conference teams (Iowa State, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma) have been ranked in the top 20 for the majority of the season. The Big 12 may be a small conference but only in size. Three of the four Big 12 teams - Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma - qualified for nationals this season, while Iowa State sophomore Michelle Browning qualified to compete as an individual at nationals.

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