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Tigers place second at Cat Classic

Friday, February 29, 2008 | 10:14 p.m. CST; updated 8:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 22, 2008
The MU gymnastics team give each other high-fives after the bars event at the Cat Classic on Friday night at the Hearnes Center.

COLUMBIA — Missouri sophomore Danielle Guider charged down the mat leading to the vault, bounced off the spring and flipped up in the air. After a sound landing, Guider was rewarded with a 9.725, a season high.

“I thought (my vault performance) went really well,” Guider said. “We’ve been working really hard on landings in the gym this week and working as a team. I think I put it together and did the best vault I could do.”

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A strong start for Guider during the 28th Annual Cat Classic on Friday night at Hearnes Center was not a sign of great things to come. A team score of 48.975 on the vault was the highest event total of the meet for the Tigers.

The Tigers placed second in the competition with a 195.275 while Michigan won with a 196.200. Ohio State and California-Berkeley finished third and fourth, respectively.

The Tigers struggled in the balance beam posting their worst score since the second meet of the year with a 48.525.

“Instead of building off of our first two events, which went really well, we got a little tentative and didn’t go as strong as we could have,” Guider said. “(We) maybe let distractions of the other teams get to us.”

Junior Alicia Hatcher, though, did perform solid on the balance beam posting a 9.750. She also scored a 9.850 on the uneven bars and 9.725 in the floor exercise, but said she can do better.

“I was really pleased with bars, but I know I could have done better on beam and floor,” Hatcher said. “There were a few mistakes here and there that I would prefer not to make.”

Missouri senior gymnast Julie Abaray competed for the first time all year after summer surgery on both knees. She performed an exhibition on the balance beam and said it was an emotional return to competition.

“It was fun, but I definitely didn’t perform up to my standards,” Abaray said. “I actually kind of lost it before my beam routine started. As soon as they said ‘senior Julie Abaray’ I actually kind of teared up, it was not good from the very start, but it was just good to get back out there.”

While as a team the Tigers did not post the score they wanted to, individually, they had great success. Junior Adrianne Perry won her second straight all-around title with a 39.300 and sophomore Sarah Shire placed third with a 39.225.

Based on recent strong performances from Perry and Shire, Missouri coach Rob Drass says that they are as good as any gymnasts in the country.

“I think they’ve proved that when the best all-arounders in the country come in here or we go up against them, they are beating them,” Drass said. “I think we have two really strong all-around gymnasts. Great leaders, great people on our team, they’re Columbia products, so we are real excited that they’re here.”

When addressing his team’s overall performance, Drass had ambivalent feelings.

“It’s bitter sweet, we have an all-around champion and a beam champion,” Drass said. “You’re just a little frustrated that we didn’t prove a better fight. We would have liked to made it a little closer.”


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