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Welker, Marshall chat improvements, sticks, Mara’s unparalleled bars performance, the junior class (and more!)

Mizzou Gymnastics Links and presser notes for Friday, January 26

On Wednesday morning, Mizzou Gym Shannon Welker and super senior Amya Marshall met on Zoom with a surprisingly crowded media room to chat about the Georgia win, lineup changes, improvements, their excitement, and the task that awaits them Friday at home in WHAT HAD BETTER BE A PACKED HEARNES CENTER, Y’ALL. You’ll read below how a packed environment can impact the team (and scoring!) for the better.

Here’s what they had to say!

[DISCLAIMER: I wrote all this before the WBB game on Thursday so I’m not addressing that up top}

On Mara’s historic floor routine, which was the highest bar score in program history:

“Not really surprised, just was wondering when it was going to happen, quite honestly. I mean, she obviously has a track record of doing quite well at her previous university. We see that kind of work, honestly, a lot. We dialed her routine back a little bit. She had been doing kind of a different release move from the high to low bar. It’s called a Pak salto, and it’s going from the high bar to the low bar, and previously she had a full turn in there, so it was a much more difficult move... So we changed it and she looked more comfortable with it too, and we got rewarded from it score-wise. So we’re excited for Mara and she’s doing exatly what we kind of thougth she was capable of doing so we’re excited for her.” —Shannon Welker

On making changes in routines:

“It’s all about risk and reward in our sport. And oviously, we want to do the big skills and the Wow skills, but we also need to get rewarded for them, too, if you’re going to take that risk. We just felt like last weekend was the time to try that out. I don’t want to call water it down. But you know, just change it up a little bit and see if it paid off for us.”

[When asked if it was the similar strategy with taking out Sienna’s front double twist on floor] ... “You know, you want to try to push the envelope a little bit with some things. I tink that our intetion early on was to, you know, take some risks, see if they paid off, see how they would work out.... So that was the same floor routine Sienna did last year and we just decided that she was a little more comfortable with it. And we felt like it had an opportunity to score a little higher. In both of those [Mara, too] it ended up being true.” —Shannon Welker

On facing Top-20 competition and the rankings:

“Honestly, we don’t really thik about who were’t going up against. We’re just trying to be the best versions of ourselves. And we’ve been putting in the work in the gym. So honestly, we just get to the weekned, and we want to show what we’ve been practicing... We know we can be a top 10 team so I think the goal is to be in the top 10 in each event.” —Amaya Marshall

“I’ve said this before, but there’s no defense. So if we can improve, if we can do our job, we can potentially walk away with a win. We always want to win, but the only way we can do that is by getting better.” —Shannon Welker

“The ranking are there just to validate you. They’re letting us know that we’re doing the right things right. As a coach, we’re telling al lthese people what to do, and do this. And so when it actually comes to fruition, and it’s working, we’re seeing results, not only in scores, but in rankings. I think then we get more buy in. Now people are willing to work a little harder becuase they’re like, ‘Look how good we’re doing. It’s working, right?’ It’s just confidence buliding stuff right there. But we know that we have to continue to devleop because if we stay the same, we will get passed up.”

On improvements they’re looking to make this week:

“We want to continue making those landings a priority for us. Those are obviuosly key to what we’re doing. If we want to be the best teams in the country, we hve to do a good with the landing and stick. So we kind of refocused al ittle bit on that last week [they only had about 30% sticks vs. Alabama] and then move forward. We’ve been on the road for a couple weeks and it’s fun to do it on the road, but it’s even more fun in front of your own fans. We’ve been working a bit on just form and some details, like pointed toes and straight legs...” So those stick percentages, that’s great if they’re at 50% now, but as move to the end of February, we need to be closer to 60%. And then, you know, evne higher in order to maintain what we’re trying to do.” — Shannon Welker

“W’e’re just trying to figure out how we can clean up a couple of things. And sometimes you’ve got to take a step back and kind of simplify things to be successful. And that’s the phase we’re in. We always go through this simplification phase, but we’re going through it earlier this year, which is great. Because we’re more prepared, and we can hit certain phases sooner. So instead of hitting this phase in mid-February, late-February, we’re hitting it in mid-to-late January. So we’re about a month ahead.”— Welker

On Amari Celestine’s beam breakout:

“I think it’s her confidence on beam. She goes over there every single day and she really puts in teh work. So as teammate watching her and her dedication, I’m not surprised by her score [9.925 v. Georgia] by any means. She deserved it. She looks great.” —Amaya Marshall

“I was so impressed with her. I’ve been so impressed with her this year. I think last weekend was her best routine she’s done, and that’s hard closing a road meet out on beam somtimes when it’s tight like that. So to her credit, she’s a competitor and it’s really cool to see. Obviously we pulled her of fbars from last year just ot help preserve the body, and she was determined that she was going to compete in three events this year, at least. I think she’s exceeding maybe even what she thought she was capable of. It’s really cool.” —Shannon Welker

On the junior class and what they’ve been able to accomplish:

“It’s just continued to get better. I feel like sometimes it’s easy for talented athletes that come from high school to college to just kind of stay the same, right? And if you’re staying the same, you’re getting worse because other people are getting better.” Theyu’ve just come in with IT. I feel like it’s part of our culture, too. Listen, every year the expectations is that you get better; you have to get better. And they’ve really embraced that and continued to find way to become better competitors and better skill level and all those things. It’s a really cool group of young women and I’m excited to see what they can accomplish this year and in the next year.” —Shannon Welker

On how having a big crowd on Friday can impact performance and scoring:

“Having a big crowd honestly, it’s just more motivation to show of fwhat we can do and really just like the fire a little bit more because, like, they came to see us perform.” —Amaya Marshall

“Not only are our coaches and our team bought in, but our fan base is there to support us or see Olivia Dune, whicehver, I don’t care [ha!]. We respond to that at an even higher level. Everyone is internally movtied, but that’s a little external motivation. It’s the same thing in other sports, right? When we pack the football stadium with 65-70,000 people, that doesn’t hurt our team.” —Shannon Welker

“In regards to how it impacts scoring, There is that subjective side to officiating, especially in gymnastics, and I certainly thtink that it can have a positive impact, especially on the home team, when we get a big crowd there. Thre’s some excitement, there is some emotion when it comes to subjectivityt. And I think that can certainly assist the right Tigers wtih that.” —Welker

Great stuff from Shannon & Amaya, and big thanks to Mason Arneson for arranging it. Wish we had longer than 20 minutes, as I still had questions to ask!

On to the Links! M-I-Z! BEAT LSU!

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

Newsy Stuff

Social Media Stuff

  • Happier times.... so close, yet so far away...
  • incoming fan favorite:
  • Not too long before we get to see Jenna in action again! Next weekend will be our first glimpse at the Black & Gold game!
  • Such a fun season. Can’t wait for next year!
  • Love it, Ma’Riya! Excited to see her defense next year!

Mizzou in the Pros

  • MPJ (Nuggies, 31-15)

1/25 v. Knicks L 122-84): 22min | 5pts on 2-4 FG | 6 REB | 2 TO, PF | -29 (yikes)

UP NEXT: Sat, 1/27 v. 76ers 4:30p, ABC | Mon, 1/29 v. MIL 8p | Wed, 1/31 v. OKC 7p

  • JC (Jazz, 23-23)

1/25 v. Wizards (W 123-108): 30min | 19pts on 7-17 FG (1-4 3PT) | 3 REB | 8 AST | 4 TO | 1 PF | +16

UP NEXT: Sat, 1/27 v. CLT 6p | Mon 1/29 v. NETS 6:30p | Tue, 1/30 v. NYK 6:30p

  • Jurassic Jontay (currently w/ Raptors, 16-28)

1/22 v. MEM (L 108-100): 6min START | 0pts on 0-2 FG | 2 REB | 1 BLK, TO | -7

UP NEXT: Fri, 1/26 v. Kobeee 6:30p | Sun, 1/28 v. ATL 5p | Tue, 1/30 v. CHI 7p | Fri, 2/2 v. HOU 7p

  • Kobeeeeee (Clips, 28-14 | Ontario Clippers, 4-8)

1/25 v. TILLY/Swarm (W 110-101): 33min | 22pts on 9-18 FG (1-5 3PT) | 10 REB, AST | 2 TO, PF | +16

1/23 v. LAL (W 127-116): 1 minute | 0 stats

UP NEXT: I don’t know why I bother to find this info, as they keep sending Kobe back & forth to the GLeague

  • D’Moi! (Rip City Remix, Portland G-League, 7-3)

1/24 v. Ignite (w 110-102): 29min | 14pts on 5-10 FG (4-6 3PT) | 7 REB | 2 AST | 1 PF | +14

1/22 v. GLI (W 118-95): 33min | 21pts on 7-16 FG (5-13 3PT) | 1 REB, AST, PF | 4 STL | 3 TO | +39 (!!)

UP NEXT: Fri-Sat, 1/26-27 v. RGV 7:30p | Tue, 1/30 v. SLC 8p, ESPN+

  • Zay (Wisconsin Herd, Bucks G-League, 6-6)

1/24 v. Squadron (W 120-107): DNP

UP NEXT: Fri, 1/26 v. BC 6p | Sat, 1/27 v. BC 6:30p | Mon, 1/29 v. MAG 6p

  • Tilly (Greensboro Swarm, Hornets G-League, 4-7)

1/25 v. Ontario/KOBEEE (L 110-101): 34min | 16pts on 7-12 FG | 14 REB | 2 AST, PF | -9

1/23 v. ONT (W 111-100): 30min | 27pts on 10-12 FG | 16 REB | 2 AST | 7 TO | 5 PF | +27

UP NEXT: Wed, 1/31 v. CLC 6p, ESPN+ | Fri, 2/2 v. WCB 6p

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