COLUMBIA — Missouri sophomore gymnast Liz Straatmann rubbed her hands with chalk then dusted them off. She stood at the end of the mat facing the uneven bars with her teammates cheering by her side.
She ran toward the uneven bars, jumped on the spring and grabbed the highest bar. When Straatmann finished her routine and landed, the judges rewarded her with a 9.875, a personal best. Straatmann’s routine was a big key to Missouri’s 195.800-192.325 win against Centenary College Friday night during the Beauty and the Beast gymnastics and wrestling event at the Hearnes Center.
“It was my second time in the lineup this season,” Straatmann said. “It was good to just do what I have been training for and the whole bar team really pulled through tonight.”
With the help of Straatmann and fellow sophomore Becky Scholle, who had a season best total of 9.850, the Tigers dominated the bars and missed a school record by .025.
“It felt really great and I was really happy,” Scholle said. “I have been struggling so I am really happy that I was able to comeback and do what I have been doing since last season.”
Missouri head coach Rob Drass was glad to see his sophomores step up in the uneven bars, but was even happier at the collective team effort.
“Becky had the best bar routine she has done this year and the same goes for Liz,” Drass said. “This was a complete team effort tonight and that is what you can be really proud of.”
The Tigers score was a season high and they have continued to improve their score in every meet this season. Drass believes the constant improving is a sign of great things to come.
“I think the team is ready to really take off,” Drass said. “Each score has been getting better and better and I think you will see us banging out routines that will put us inside the top ten as a team over the next couple of weeks.”
Sophomore Sarah Shire continued her excellent first season for the Tigers. The Utah transfer won the all-around for the second straight meet with a score of 39.500.
The Tigers swept the all-around competition with senior Ashley Khederian and junior Adrianne Perry capturing second and third place, respectively.
With the win, the Tigers moved to 4-1 on the season, their best start since 1993.