How bout them Tigers, huh?
Fresh off a mauling of the Auburn Tigers, Mizzou headed to Fayetteville for a Hog Roast. And roast they did! Next on the agenda is the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Tigers’ final SEC matchup of the year. Let’s preview.
But first... I’ve won. We’ve all won. By Rock M Nation twitter standards, we are almost... pretty much... a #gymnasticsschool now.
This is close enough to #gymnasticsschool, @rockmnation. Thank you for joining the team. #miz https://t.co/LsKr0zxtc1 pic.twitter.com/MrIYEGBJyg— Karen S (@karensteger) March 1, 2023
When: Friday, March 3
Where: Hearnes Center | Columbia, Mo.
Time: 6:00 p.m. CST
TV/Streaming: SEC Network+
History: Friday will hopefully be the Tigers’ first win ever against the Tide. In 2022, they dropped a heartbreaker, losing 197.500 to 196.775.
All smiles cause today is meet day!!!— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) March 3, 2023
No. 8 Alabama
⏰6 pm CT
Last Time On The Mats
When we last saw our then-no. 15 Tigers, they were again in “JUST YOU WATCH” mode, nabbing their best score in history against then-no. 17 Arkansas, who they thrashed 197.850 to 196.650. The Tigers set new high scores in bars (49.450) and beam (49.550).
In the past six days, the Tigers have tied a program record in vault, set a new record in bars and beam, tied their second-best floor score, and then set a new program high.
Meanwhile, the Crimson Tide (6-4, 4-3 SEC) fell to no. 8 LSU a week ago in Coleman Coliseum by just .05... ouch. Their overall score of 197.925 is their fifth score over 197 this season, and their third such score in the 197.85 range or higher. (side note: I’m betting the Tide pointed this out on their site because those scores are at/higher than Mizzou’s.)
Per Bama head coach Ashley Johnston, who’s in her first year at the helm:
“Over the last few weeks, we’ve learned that this team is resilient and that we know how to fight.in tough situations. We’ve done a really great job of fighting for every single tenth to finish meets strong. We’ve also learned that we need to start stronger, and that is something that we are focusing on this week. We need to make sure that we take charge of the environment that we are in and begin the competition really strong, focusing on owning every moment.”
We told you not to sleep on this team... #MIZ pic.twitter.com/8cqbz9hZxN— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) March 1, 2023
What To Expect At The Venue
Last time at home, Mizzou beat Olympic gold medalist Sunisa Lee and her #5 Auburn Tigers in front of a Hearnes Center record-breaking crowd of 6,041 enthusiastic fans clad in glowing crowns and black capes (it was princess & superhero night), as well as various Mizzou coaches and fellow student-athletes.
Matchups to Keep an Eye on
While there aren’t individual head-to-head matchups, I thought it was interesting to share the no. 1 vs the no. 1, no. 2 vs no. 2, etc. And a wild card if one is warranted. Mizzou is listed second, as always. Scores in parentheses are the highest of the season.
Floor: Luisa Blanco (9.975) vs. Jocelyn Moore (9.975) | Lilly Hudson (9.975) vs. Alisa Sheremeta (9.95) | Gabby Gladieux (9.95) vs. Amari Celestine (9.95) | Mati Waligora (9.925) vs. Hannah McCrary (9.925) | Shania Adams (9.90) vs. Sienna Schreiber (9.90) | Wild Card: Shallon Olsen (9.875) OR Makarri Doggette (9.80) vs. Alonna Kratzer (9.90)
Blanco and Hudson lead Alabama’s 1-2 punch in FX, with Luisa being remarkably consistent with a 9.92 average. Gladieux’s 9.925 against LSU was her sixth consecutive score of 9.9 or better, so we can all count on her to score at least that. Adams has come on strong the last 6 meets, and is averaging a 9.867. Rankings-wise, Luisia is ranked #7 nationally, while Lilly and Gabby are tied at #22.
Alonna has now had back-to-back season-high scores of 9.9 on FX, while Jocelyn got her highest of the season, an almost-perfect 9.975, against Arkansas ON THE ROAD. Also, a 9.975 means someone gave her a 10. Amari had an uncharacteristic gaffe last week where she didn’t complete one of her tumbling passes completely, but normally can be counted on for a huge score. National rankings-wise, Alisa comes in a #29 (up 4) and Jocelyn holding steady at #63.
Beam: Luisa Blanco (10.00) vs. Helen Hu (9.95) | Lilly Hudson (10.00) vs. Siena Schreiber (9.95) | Ella Burgess (9.95) vs. Alisa Sheremeta (9.925) | Rachel Rybicki (9.90) vs. Addison Lawrence (9.925) | Mati Waligora (9.875) vs. Grace Anne Davis (9.90) | Gabby Gladieux (9.875) vs. Hannah McCrary (9.90)
Last week against LSU, Bama’s beam team had four scores of 9.9 or higher on their way to a 49.700 total score, their highest of the season. This included: Burgess (9.925), Rybicki (9.90, season-best), Blanco (10) and Hudson (10, her first). The 9.925 was Burgess’ fourth consecutive score of 9.9+. National rankings-wise, Louisa is ranked #4, Lilly is #21, and Ella is #25.
The Tigers set a program high for the second time this season (the first was against Illinois wiht a 49.525) with Addy Lawrence’s masterful 9.925 performance (her best before that was a 9.85, I think) in the 2-hole. The Tigers were so good on beam in a ROAD environment, and the lowest score was Grace Anne’s 9.875! National rankings-wise, Helen is #21, Sienna is #30, and Alisa is #58.
Okay miss Hannah!! Leading us off with a 9.90!#MIZ pic.twitter.com/FTjs2avENp— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) February 25, 2023
Bars: Makarri Doggette (10.00) vs. Amari Celestine (9.925) | Luisa Blanco (9.95) vs. Helen Hu (9.925) | Cam Machado (9.95) vs. Jocelyn Moore (9.90) | Mati Waligora (9.90) vs. Sienna Schreiber (9.90) | Lilly Hudson (9.90) vs. Alisa Sheremeta (9.875) | Jordyn Paradise (9.875) OR Karis German (9.85) vs. Kyra Burns (9.875)
Waligora got her season-best 9.9 last week against LSU, but typically scores in the low to mid 9.8 range. German has competed in UB the last three meets, so I’ll give her the edge over Paradise here for the Wild Card. Makarri is ranked #16 nationally in the uneven bars, while Luisa is ranked #21 and Cam is #38.
I think this matchup could be close, as both bars rosters seem to be open to some fluctatiion. In only her second bars start of the season Kyra Burns was FANTASTIC, scoring a 9.875— higher than her 9.85 in her bars debut! Amari’s 9.925 was her season-best last week, and earned her an individual event title. The Tigers had their best bars score of the season last week, but I think there’s room for growth. In terms of rankings, Helen is ranked #24 nationally.
Nothing to say but stunning 9.900#MIZ pic.twitter.com/SzVucyUGCM— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) February 25, 2023
Vault: Shallon Olsen (9.95) vs. Jocelyn Moore (10.0) | Luisa Blanco (9.95) vs. Sienna Schreiber (9.90) | Makarri Doggette (9.925) vs. Amari Celestine (9.875) | Jordyn Paradise (9.925) vs. Hannah McCrary (9.85) | Gabby Gladieux (9.925) vs. Grace Anne Davis (9.85) | Lilly Hudson (9.90) vs. Addison Lawrence (9.775)
Last week, Bama scored a 49.325, led by a season-best 9.925 from Gabby Gladieux. While no Alabama vaulter has achieved Jocelyn Moore status (AKA: a perfect 10), they do have a very good vaulting team, as you can tell. Vault is prone to high fluctuation in scoring due to the landings, but man... if they are ‘ON’, the Tide has a chance to do some damage. with all six entrants capable of a 9.90 or higher. Luisa is ranked #34 nationally in vault, followed by Shallon, who is ranked #55.
Amari got her 9.95 groove back!! Celestine tied her career-best last week, and Jocelyn should’ve scored a perfect 10.00 again for her vault against Arkansas— one judge awarded her one), so there’s that. Nationally, Joci is ranked #4(!!!) while Amari comes in at #63 in her first NQS update.
Sometime it just takes a second to process. #MIZ pic.twitter.com/P4sEj9199x— Mizzou Gymnastics (@MizzouGym) February 27, 2023
How Missouri Can Win
Floor: I will continue to say this until I’m blue in the face... think that the Tigers’ FX are amazing — they have excellent choreo and look like they’re having so much FUN out there, which seems to show in the judges’ scores. So, they should keep that up. I know... expert analysis. Their highest score is only 1/10 different than Mizzou’s, and their average scores are even closer (0.047 apart). I’m looking for Amari to have a huge score, and for Sienna to get back to a 9.90— she’s been stuck on a 9.85 forever it seems. Mizzou does well at home on floor, as the crowd is SO amped up.
Beam: Limit the checkies, just like they did last week. We’ve talked here recently about switching up the beam lineup, and last week was another change, with Hannah McCrary leading off. This moved the freshman Addy to second, and resulted in her best score of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shannon keep it the same. I’d love to see Helen bring back that beautiful scale in her routine, as it really helped put the elements together. She’s due for a huge score, and deserves more than the 9.9s she’s been getting (Roethlisberger agrees)
Bars: While Alabama has the potential for a huge score here, I don’t think we’ve seen Mizzou at their collective best quite yet, despite the season-high score. Helen, just like I mentioned on beam, is due for a big score, as her routine is GORGEOUS. I’d love to see a big bars score in their second-to-last home meet.
Vault: I only want to see one 9.7 score, and that is the one they drop! For two weeks straight, Mizzou has done a great job of sticking landings and maintaining high, high position in the air. I’m looking for Joci to pull out another 10, and a 9.95+ from Amari here. I’d also love to see a big score from Hannah, who is capable of a 9.9 (or at least a 9.875). Mizzou will have to step it up on this apparatus to keep up with the Tide’s high flyers.
Overall: Ya know, I wouldn’t have thought Mizzou could beat Auburn, and then they did. And then they went on the road and laid the smackdown upon Arkansas, so why not take down Alabama?!? The sky’s the limit!
See y’all in Hearnes #meetweek pic.twitter.com/D6m1tWZyAi— Amari Celestine (@amari_celestine) March 1, 2023
See you on the twitter, where I’ll be posting videos and super professional commentary!