Oct. 28, 2008
Columbia, Mo. -
The Missouri women's gymnastics team is seeking its first-ever Big 12 title in 2009, and is preparing for that challenge with a talented slew of opponents set for this season. Head Coach Rob Drass and the squad have released the schedule for the 2009 season.
"We're looking forward to getting started," said Drass, who now enters his ninth year at the helm of the squad. "We have a couple of teams that we faced in the NCAA Regional Championships last year."
Missouri took fourth overall last April in Baton Rouge, La., behind runner-up Kent State, who they face on March 7 at Eastern Michigan, and just edged fifth-place Ohio State, where the Tigers will travel on Jan. 31.
Missouri starts the season with the annual Black and Gold intrasquad meet on Dec. 13. From there, the Tigers host five regular season home meets and will travel to face Arizona State and Big 12 rival Oklahoma. Missouri will also face familiar rival Illinois twice in the season.
The start of the regular season in January sees the Tigers traveling to Iowa State on Jan. 9, then finding a bit of warmer weather at Arizona State on Jan. 16.
The Tigers' first home meet will be the fifth annual "Pink Out" on Friday, Jan. 23, when Missouri takes on Nebraska. Fans are encouraged to wear pink, and a portion of the admissions proceeds is donated to the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center for breast cancer research.
One of Missouri `s biggest tests on the road comes Jan. 31, when the Tigers travel to Columbus, Ohio to take on host Ohio State, Michigan State and Illinois. Missouri then returns home to face SEMO on Feb. 6.
Another highlight of Missouri's home schedule is the third annual "Beauty and the Beast" meet on Feb. 13 against Illinois. This event is unique in that the gymnasts will compete side-by-side with the Missouri wrestling team. Last year, the Tigers topped Centenary 195.800 - 192.325 in front of a crowd of 6,308.
The Tigers travel to Norman, Okla. to face both the Sooners and West Virginia the following weekend, Feb. 20. Then it's back to Columbia for the 29th annual "Cat Classic," Feb. 27-28. The Tigers will host Michigan State, Western Michigan and Cal State Fullerton. Missouri placed second last year with a score of 195.25, and senior Adrianne Perry
grabbed the all-around title with a score of 39.300.
Missouri will round out the season with another road trip, this time to Eastern Michigan to face the Eagles, along with Central Michigan and Kent State, on March 7.
The Tigers' final contest will be at home against Oregon State on March 13. Missouri made the trip last season to Corvallis, Ore., where they posted a 195.325 and a third place finish.
The Big 12 Championships will be hosted by Iowa State in Ames starting March 21, where the Tigers will battle Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa State for the conference title.
All home meets will be held at the Hearnes Center. Ticket information and sales are available through the Missouri Athletic Ticket Office by calling 884-PAWS or 1-800-CAT-PAWS.