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Missouri gymnastics team stays perfect in high-scoring win

Friday, January 22, 2010 | 10:16 p.m. CST; updated 7:18 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 23, 2010
MU gymnast Sarah Shire wraps up her floor performance during the Pink Out meet against Iowa State on Friday night at the Hearnes Center. Shire recorded a 9.950 on floor and slid into third place on the Missouri all-time list.

COLUMBIA — It was one of those nights where everyone had their faces buried in the record book.

Season and career highs were falling left and right for the 13th-ranked Missouri women’s gymnastics team Friday night at the Hearnes Center. Missouri used a high-scoring fourth rotation to put away 17th-ranked Iowa State for their fifth victory of the season.

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Leading comfortably after the first two rotations of their Big 12 Conference opener, the Tigers found themselves up by just .05 of a point to a talented Iowa State squad.

They made the most of their fourth rotation, posting a 49.400 on the floor exercise, the fourth-highest for the program for that event.

“When you start at a 9.825 instead of building halfway through to a 9.825, everything after that, as it gets better and stronger, you force the judges up into a tight hole," coach Rob Drass said. "And we like them to be right up there because then they've got to keep giving those scores. That’s how you run it and score 49 and a half points.”

Career highs came for five of the six Tiger gymnasts in the fourth rotation, and the other posted a season high. Senior Sarah Shire recorded a 9.950 on floor and slid into third place on the Missouri all-time list.

Shire, the reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, made it difficult for the conference to award the title to anyone else. She was the highest-scoring gymnast in every event Friday, finishing with an all-around score of 39.600. That put her in sole possession of third place on the school’s all-time list. Aside from setting a career high on floor, she also set new season highs on vault and balance beam.

“We did not have a good floor rotation last week,” Shire said, “and we worked really, really hard in the gym this week fixing those minor details.”

Although the meet was close heading into the fourth rotation, Missouri put up big numbers all night. Its final team total of 196.400 was the 12th-highest in school history.

“When you have those kind of kids on your team and those kind of performances they can deliver, that puts you up in an upper echelon," Drass said. "That’s what we’ve been fighting to get to, and I think we can run with anyone in the country.”

It was a big night for senior Danielle Guider, who set new season highs in all three events she competed in, two of which were new career highs.

“When I hit my bars routine, I think that gave me a lot of motivation for the rest of the night," Guider said. "I just kept my attitude up and just kept plugging away.”

Friday night’s meet was the sixth-annual Pink Out, with proceeds going toward breast cancer research. One dollar from each ticket sold benefited Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia. It was the second-highest crowd in Pink Out history with 3,227 people in attendance.

The Tigers kept their record unblemished with Friday’s victory, as they head into a tough road meet against ninth-ranked Nebraska next weekend in Lincoln, Neb.


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