For the first time in almost 20 years, Missouri gymnastics has a first-team All-American.
Junior Sarah Shire scored a 9.9 on vault, her signature event, to earn the honor Thursday afternoon at the NCAA Championships in Lincoln, Neb. The last Tiger to claim the award was Julie Dorn, the program’s most-decorated gymnast, in 1990.
“I think the thing that helped me on vault was knowing I’m a good vaulter, and I’ve done this in the past,” said Shire in a phone interview after the meet. Shire has averaged almost a 9.85 on vault this season.
Shire, who posted a 39.2 in the all-around, said she knew when she finished her vault that it would get a strong score.
Missouri’s top gymnast this season, Shire advances to Saturday’s individual event finals with a shot at becoming the vault national champion. Saturday’s competition will begin at 6 p.m.
Senior Adrianne Perry, competing for the last time as a Tiger, set another record. Perry’s 39.35 score in the all-around was the best performance at nationals by a Missouri gymnast. That score and Perry’s 9.85 tally on floor earned her second-team All-American honors.
“It means a lot," Perry said in a phone interview. "I’m a little speechless about it, I guess. I feel great. I couldn’t have asked for a better last meet for myself.”
Shire said about 20-30 Missouri fans made the trip to the Bob Devaney Sports Center on the University Nebraska’s campus. Five other Missouri gymnasts were also in attendance.
Since Missouri didn't qualify as a team, Shire and Perry rotated with other teams.
“Me and A (Perry) were completely separate the whole meet,” Shire said. “…It was a lot different, and it was harder not having my team.”
Shire desperately wants Missouri to qualify for nationals as a team next year, and she said she hopes the gymnasts in attendance got a taste of what the meet is like.