Dec. 5, 2013
Columbia, Mo. - Head coach Shannon Welker begins his first season with the Missouri Tigers gymnastics program, as the team hosts the Lindenwood Lions this Sunday (Dec. 8) at the Hearnes Center for an exhibition meet.
Admission is free for all guests to the Hearnes Center, with doors opening to the public at 1:30 p.m. CT. The meet will promptly begin at 3:00 p.m. CT.
Missouri Coaching Debut
After spending the past five years as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan, head coach Shannon Welker begins his tenure leading the University of Missouri gymnastics program. Welker will be joined by fellow new coaching staff members John Carney and Casey Jo Magee. Carney spent the past five seasons with Oregon State University, while Magee recently coached as an assistant at Western Michigan University. This season will mark the second year in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for the Tigers, and the team will look to rebound from a 3-11 record last season.
Mix Of Old And New
Bouncing Back From Injury
Mizzou brings a mix of experienced upperclassmen, and exciting newcomers to this year's roster. The Tigers will trot out five freshman (Anna Bowers, Alyson Heimsath, Angie Kern, Lark Pokladnik and Sasha Sander) to the Hearnes Center Sunday, marking the first collegiate competition experience for the Class of 2013.
Last year marked a wave of devastating injuries for the Tigers, but after an off-season of rehab the squad is stronger than ever. Redshirt junior Katelyn Trevino
will make her return after suffering a season-ending injury last year at the Air Force Quad Meet. Juniors Briana Conkle
and Rebecca Johnson
are also ready to step-in for the Tigers after missing most of the 2012-13 season.
Upperclassmen Lead The Charge
Junior Laura Kappler will compete in the all-around for Missouri, while junior Rachel Updike brings her experiences from last year's NCAA Regionals to the Tigers program. Updike enters her third year in the Missouri program with a list of impressive accolades. In 2012, she snagged the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award, while also placing second on vault, floor and all-around at the Big 12 Championships.
Cathryn Aliceaacosta and Mackenzie McGill make up the senior class for Missouri, and both will be looked upon for their leadership throughout the year. Aliceaacosta saw the majority of her time on beam and floor exercise last year, while McGill was a consistent force on bars.
Sneak Peek For Tiger Gymnastics Fans
Sunday's exhibition meet will provide a chance for Tigers fans to preview this year's team, before their regular season opener at Alabama on Jan. 10. The meet in Tuscaloosa, Al. will be televised on Fox Sports Net, with competition beginning at 7:30 p.m. CT. Missouri will host their home opener at the Hearnes Center on Jan. 17, as the Arkansas Razorbacks travel to Columbia, Mo.
Lindenwood Also Begins New Era
Similar to the Tigers, Lindenwood also begins the season with a new head coach, Jen Kesler, after she served as a graduate assistant coach last year for the Lady Lions. Kesler will be joined by another newcomer to the Lions staff, as Jennifer Grabowski will serve as the assistant coach.
Lions and Tigers Re-Unite
Missouri assistant coach, John Carney, will re-unite with one of his former gymnasts while he coached at Oregon State University. Lions head coach Jen Kesler, was a four-year member of the Oregon State gymnastics team and earned a trip to the NCAA Championships in bars her senior season.
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