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Welker & Co. prepare for trip to Tuscaloosa, talk early season awesomeness

Mizzou Links for Thursday, January 11

On Wednesday morning, Mizzou Gym Shannon Welker and grad student extraordinaire — she’s an engineering major, guys — Sienna Schreiber met on Zoom with the media (i.e. me & Ben Arnet) to chat about the first meet, their excitement, and the task that awaits them Friday in Tuscaloosa.

Here’s what they had to say!

On what it’s like to “play with a lead, being ranked so highly this early:

“It isreally refreshing. It was cool that we actually, we talked about doing this. I mean, that was one of our goals was to establish ourselves sooner, kind of in the rankings. We’ve done a really good job of peaking at the right time, I believe, the last two to three years, but we feel like we could do that and be prepared a little sooner. And that was one of our goals. And so we felt like we accomplished that on Saturday night. And so that was really a lot of fun to score that high as a team right out of the gate.” —Shannon Welker

On what this kind of performance from the get-go does for everyone moving forward:

“I think it reinforces the buy-in we have from our team. You know, at the end of last season, we sat down with our team members and our captains right here. And we just said, okay, well what do we want to accomplish next year? And if we want to do that, what do we need to change on the front end? What has to change over the summer, and then into the preseason for us to achieve those goals? And so it’s really cool, I think, to see that we made those changes, and we applied some changes, and, and now we are where we are.

Actually, I just had a conversation with our strength and conditioning coach, I’m like, Okay, we got it, we got to control the load now, because we don’t want to peak too early. Right. And so, but I think we have a lot of depth. And so I think that’s going to help us sustain our success.” —Welker

On the vibes in the gym right now:

“Super upbeat, but it’s also competitive. So we have a lot of depth, like what Shannon was saying. So we don’t just have six good people, we have like 9 to 10 really great people on every event. So having that inner competitiveness between our teammates with wanting to like, push to get in that lineup is great. But it’s also like, we know when the line has come out, we’re going to be happy with whoever’s in there. And we’re just so excited to be doing how we’re doing being ready early and getting after it.” — Sienna Schreiber

On competing at Coleman Coliseum on Friday against another top-5 team in Alabama:

“It’s a lot of fun... Listen, we beat Bama for the first time last year at Hearnes, which was exciting. Now, they opened the door for us a little bit, but we walked through. And so I think the cool thing now is that, we don’t necessarily walk into a competition thinking, ‘Oh, we got to win, or we got to do this.’ But what I think is neat from coaching staff and a team perspective is that, hey, look, we are going to execute, and we can do it at a high level. And we’re going to walk away if we do that with a great score. And now we can also compete for the win to add in a way venue, which I think is really cool. So so that’s exciting stuff.” — Welker

“I think we go more into it less of like, looking at the outcome, but more of what we can control. It’s a big thing that we focus on. It’s just less of like, ‘Oh my gosh, you’re going to Alabama SEC top five’ towards more just like, what does Mizzou gonna do in this moment on this day?” — Schreiber

On how they’ve prepared for Friday:

“We just want to build we open strong last weekend. And so really for us... it’s just feedback. It’s just data. As soon as the meet was over [Saturday] we watched the video the next day, and then we create a Google Doc. And then each coach types in like one or two things that they want to focus on for the week. And so those student athletes can access that and then they already know they were looking at the video, they look at the doc and they’re like, Okay, and we try to keep it simple.

This is a short week for us... so we really have to just pick like one thing to improve for this week. We’re at a great starting spot, so that’s awesome. And so we just really, if we can just make some small corrections... I think we’re going to be in an awesome spot moving forward.” — Welker

On the performance of the freshmen in the first meet:

“The freshmen did amazing. I have honestly been so proud of them. Like they have stepped up in such a big way, not just as athletes, but as people and teammates. I have the utmost respect for them. They came in here ready to go, ready to compete, ready to get in those lineup spots. And they handled the pressure so well. They weren’t nervous at all. And I think that goes back to our preparation and what we did in summer and preseason, so I’m honestly so proud of them. They’re amazing.” — Schreiber

“I would agree. I think they did a great job, especially that first meet that can be a daunting task. So I was pleased with them, and I’m excited for what they can do this year with this starting point where we began this year.” —Welker

Great stuff from Shannon & Sienna, and big thanks to Mason Arneson for arranging it.

And that’s not all in Gym News!

Mizzou also welcomed a late signee to the 2024 class in Virginia Beach native, Ayla Acevedo on Wednesday.


“I chose Mizzou because I loved the environment and energy the team and whole school gave off,” Acevedo said. ”It felt like home.”

Acevedo is the fifth member of the Tigers’ 2024 signing class alongside Railey Jackson (Park Forest, Ill.), Olivia Kelly (Bronx, N.Y.), Lisa Szeibert (Wyoming, Mich.) and Kaia Tanskanen (Howell, Mich.), all of whom are ranked in the College Gym News recruitment rankings.

On to the Links! M-I-Z!

Good god. TigerStyle showing absolutely NO mercy (more on that tomorrow, apparently)

Yesterday at Rock M

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