Gymnastics coach Drass to face familiar opponent

Friday, March 7, 2008 | 12:34 a.m. CST; updated 8:29 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 22, 2008

COLUMBIA — When Missouri coach Rob Drass looks across the floor Saturday afternoon, he will see a familiar face in Illinois assistant coach Amy Kruse. During Drass’ years as a Nebraska assistant coach, he recruited and coached Kruse.

The former second team All-American in the floor exercise is in her second season as an Illinois coach. She says Drass was a laid back coach who helped make gymnastics fun.

“Being able to see him this weekend is fun,” Kruse said. ”And as far as our sport goes, yes, it’s a big competition and it’s exciting and I hope we win, but coaching against him, there is no bad blood or anything like that.”

Drass says that Kruse was an intense competitor during meets and practice. He’s happy to have had such a positive impact in Kruse’s life.

“I think it’s a fun thing to coach against someone you coached,” Drass said. “It makes you kind of proud to know that they had a good enough experience when you coached them to continue to coach and do it as a career.”

Missouri sophomore Becky Scholle, who was also recruited by Illinois, is looking forward to building on the 9.725 she scored on the uneven bars in the Cat Classic last Friday. She says that the team is ready to compete after a strong week of practice.

“I am really excited, because I think it will be a good away score for us after this week of preparing and fixing our mistakes from last week,” Shoelle said. “I think we are really excited to show everyone how much we’ve improved from last week.”

Fellow sophomore Liz Straatmann, who placed third on the uneven bars in the Cat Classic, is trying to avoid complacency.

“That is one thing we work on in the gym every time after the meets,” Straatmann said of constantly wanting to improve. “We watch video of ourselves and critique every routine and we look for things to fix and keep working on improving each individual skill.”

After last week’s disapointing score of 195.275, Drass organized practice a little bit differently this week.

“We did some group assignments, I think we did some things that focused on coming together as a team,” Drass said. “We did some things to help block out distractions and focus on what we’re doing. I am confident that this team is going to do a great job this weekend.”

The meet starts at 2 p.m. Saturday at Huff Hall in Champaign, Ill.

HONORS: Tigers junior gymnast Adrianne Perry was named Big 12 Conference Gymnast of the Week for her all-around win at last Friday’s Cat Classic in Columbia. She scored a 39.300 en rout to her third straight all-around title.

Perry is the third MU gymnast to be honored this year by the Big 12. Sophomore Sarah Shire won Big 12 Gymnast of the Week for Feb. 12 and junior Alicia Hatcher won Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week for Jan. 29.

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