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No. 12 Mizzou rebounds with highest score of season, takes down No. 20 UGA

Missouri earns its second 197+ of the season, and the Tigers return home with an SEC win.

Junior Jocelyn Moore hugs Mizzou head coach Shannon Welker while freshman Rayna Light looks on after a particularly great vault against no. 20 Georgia on January 21.
Mizzou Athletics

What a week! Per stats guy Drew Porche, this was an unprecedented week for the vaunted SEC, as this is the first time all eight schools topped 197.00 in scores. Even more, this is the first time a SINGLE CONFERENCE has ever achieved this feat.

But you’re not here about that, friends. You’re here to read about your favorite tumbling Tigers, who went to Athens and in front of a crowd of 9,807 at Stegeman Coliseum, including friends and family of Georgia natives Alonna Kratzer and Sienna Schreiber, rebounded in a big, record-breaking way after a mildly disappointing week at Alabama in Week 2.

Let’s recap.


Rotation One— MIZ Bars | UGA Vault

After a particularly low-scoring rotation at Bama, featuring three Tigers under 9.725 (yikes) and a sub-49 score (double yikes), the Tigers achieved their highest score of the season on season-bests by 4/6 of the bars squad! Missouri was led by Mara Titarsolej’s damn near perfect 9.975 — also a program record! — and 9.825s by Kyra Burns and freshman Rayna Light, who shined in her first official collegiate routine. An overall great rotation was rounded out by Jocelyn Moore and Sienna Schreiber’s season-best 9.80. one of which was dropped. You know your score is good when you’re dropping a 9.80, y’all.

As for Georgia, who I mentioned in my preview had been decimated by injuries, this was the first time in three meets they had a full rotation of six competitors on vault, and with that, managed their highest score of the season. The GymDogs were led by freshmen duo Ady Wahl (9.875) and JaFree Scott’s 9.825, the latter of whom performed on vault for the first time this season.

After one rotation, Mizzou got the head start on this one with a 0.225 lead, 49.250 — 49.025

Rotation Two— MIZ Vault | UGA Bars

Mizzou followed up the excellent bars score with another super solid vault performance, their third such one of the season. Sienna started things off for the Tigers tying her season-best 9.85 with a Yurchenko full. The best part about it? A stuck landing! Rayna followed with a small hop on her vault, earning a 9.80, before Grace Anne Davis tied her season best with a 9.825. The last three Tigers — Hannah Horton, Amari Celestine & Jocelyn — featured 10.0 start values, meaning that, if done to perfection, they could earn a perfect 10. By contrast, the Yurchenko full, performed by the first three members of the rotation — Sienna, Rayna & GAD — has a 9.95 start value.

H-squared’s landing, per the announcers, was a bit short on the rotation, and she took a step back, resulting in a 9.775 (it was dropped), before Amari earned her season-best 9.90 on a beautiful vault that had great distance from the horse, which showcased her power. If not for the small foot shuffle, it would have been even higher. And that left Joci in the anchor spot, earning a season-best 9.95. I saw a stuck landing, but the announcers said she tried to cover a small foot shuffle (whatever). The Tigers’ final rotation score? A solid 49.325, which is only 5/100ths off their season best.

On Georgia’s side, they squared off on bars, one of their strongest events. The GymDogs had a 49.425 high score coming in, good enough for the 7th highest score in the nation, and 9th in average (49.300). For reference, Mizzou’s best bars score EVER is 49.45, and their season-high is (was) 49.175.

Back to Georgia. whose 49.25 was decent, though unspectacular, with scores ranging from 9.725 to 9.825. Freshman JaFree Scott, whose season best is 9.95, did really well with a 9.875, but was a distant second to the absolute perfection that was freshman — so many freshmen competing for UGA!! — Lily Smith. Watch below. It really was worth the 10.

After two rotations, Mizzou increases their lead to 0.300, 98.575—98.275.

Mizzou and Georgia tie on bars with Lily Smith taking the title, and Mizzou winning vault, with Joci taking the title.

Rotation Three— MIZ Floor | UGA Beam

Next came Fab Floor time, and a fabulous floor it was, as the Tigers earned a 49.425, just 0.025 off their season best. Two Tigers earned season-bests on FX, including Sienna, who led off with a 9.90, and Destiny Child’s biggest fan, freshman Kennedy Griffin, who also notched a 9.90 in just her second officially official routine (she did EXH in Week 1). Hannah (H-squared) had a lovely 9.85, which was just off her best from last week (9.90) and can be watched below. Amari tied her season-best 9.875 before Joci closed it out with... you guessed it, a 9.90. Common score for the Tigers, it seemed.

Georgia ascended the beam, a 4-inch wide apparatus (about the length of an iPhone), looking for big scores to cut into Mizzou’s lead... and they did not. Their 49.35 was their best of the season, though, led by the freshmen again— Lily and her 9.95, Jaydah Battle and her 9.875, JaFree and her 9.875, and Anya Turner with her... 9.875. The overall rotation score would have been higher, except they had to count Ady’s 9.775 leadoff score after sophomore Sidney Fitzgerald had a fall.

After three rotations, Mizzou expanded their lead to 0.375, 148.000—147.625.

Rotation Four— MIZ Beam | UGA Floor

Remember last week’s sub-49 disaster? Nah, me neither. And apparently, neither did the Tigers because they came to play in the final rotation, with five Tigers tallying season-best scores. Amaya Marshall led off with her season-best 9.775, and Rayna, competing officially on beam for the first time (she competed exhibition in Week 1) earned a 9.75 with a great stuck landing on her gainer full. Sydney Schaffer had a wonderful 9.875, her best of the season, and Amari, competing in just her third collegiate beam routine, followed up with a magnificent 9.925 (video below). Is there nothing this girl can’t do?!

Grace Anne was next with a solid 9.85 before Sienna finished off the Tigers’ performance with an unreal 9.975. Just watch...

Georgia’s last chance at a comeback was on floor exercise, where they’d need their best score by a significant amount to have a chance. The GymDogs did as well as expected, and despite the season-bests (or tied bests) by 5/6 of the rotation, they only brought it a little closer in the end.

After four rotations, Mizzou beat Georgia by 0.35, 197.400—197.050.

Both teams scored the same 49.425 on FX, with Lily Smith taking the individual title, while Mizzou took the beam title by 0.05, and Sienna took the individual title (and the All-Around title).

MVP

  • Sienna Schreiber had a great meet, leading off vault and floor with a tie of her season-best, winning the individual beam title with a career-best, and taking the all-around title.
  • Rayna Light added two more official appearances to her freshman season, including bars, where she was awesome with a 9,825, and beam, where she improved mightily over her first exhibition appearance in Week 1. She also had a solid vault, just off her season-best, and while she didn’t do FX this time, she’s now done every event and is likely to take the all-around reins at some point in the future.

Final Thoughts

This meet was great, a true joy to watch. A victory over a Top-20 team on the road in the SEC is always difficult, but Mizzou never faltered in this one. They were on one from the get-go. I had a feeling that once the Tigers had a good bars rotation this would be a higher-scoring affair. Excitement is contagious, and from that rotation on, the fun was evident, the sheer jubilation. A little extra pep in their step. The subtle nods to the cameras on floor. It was all awesome.

When comparing last season with this one, it wasn’t until mid-February that the Tigers had a score this high (147.45 vs. Auburn at home), and this tied for the fourth-highest score of the last two seasons. It’s also their second-highest road score in at least two seasons. That’s pretty incredible. While we don’t know the exact rankings yet, if roadtonationals.com’s daily scores are any indication, the Tigers should slide up to around 9th after this win.

Shannon Welker preached the need for stuck landings in the most recent press conference, and the Tigers really went for it in Week 3. A week after what he estimated to be around 30% sticks, they were much closer to 50%, and it’ll only continue to get better. I believe, and can’t wait to see what’s next.


UP NEXT: Mizzou welcomes Tigers of another stripe to Hearnes Center for their first home dual of the season. Time to set a new Hearnes record, friends.