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Shire sets career high in Missouri gymnastics loss to Oklahoma

Friday, February 19, 2010 | 10:17 p.m. CST; updated 10:46 p.m. CST, Friday, February 19, 2010
Missouri senior gymnast Sarah Shire performs her floor routine during Big 12 meet against Oklahoma in February at Hearnes Center. Shire won the conference's all-around championship on March 27 in Lincoln, Neb.

COLUMBIA — It was a night of career-making moments for the Missouri gymnastics team Friday night at the Hearnes Center.

Missouri posted its third-highest score of the season, but it wasn't enough to beat No. 2 -ranked Oklahoma, who prevailed 197.05-195.5.

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Despite dropping their second Big 12 meet of the season, several Missouri gymnasts had big nights.

Senior Sarah Shire put up a career best score of 39.625 in the all-around competition, coming within .025 points of the school record.

"It's good to know that I still have more in me," Shire said. "It's good to know that I haven't capped off yet. It gives me confidence going into the next week."

Even with her best all-around score to date, Shire still thinks there is more she can do. She said Friday was good, but not great by any means.

While the senior Shire improved upon her own storied history, freshman Brittany Bendoff kicked off her career Friday by competing in her first non-exhibition event.

"It was fun," Bendoff said. "Finally they let me be in the lineup. It was exciting."

In her first collegiate performance, Bendoff posted a 9.825 on floor exercise. Her score was the Tigers' second highest of the event, with only Shire's being higher.

"I thought she did a wonderful job," head coach Rob Drass said. "When the opportunity comes, you have got to seize it and take advantage of it. She did tonight."

Bendoff hopes her performance earned her a spot in the lineup going forward.

Friday also saw career highs from sophomore Mary Burke and senior Danielle Guider on vault and balance beam, respectively.

The meet itself started off well for the Tigers, who led after the first rotation. But, Guider and freshman Lauren Swankoski missed their mounts on their uneven bars routine, making it difficult for Missouri to keep it close.

The Tigers recorded their highest team balance beam score of the season, including season highs from Guider and senior Brooke Boehmer, but by then the Sooners had pulled away.

"The two mistakes were complete flukes," Shire said. "It's not something that we have ever done before. So that's something we can clean up in the gym and never have happen again."

Drass said his team took a step forward even in a loss, mentioning improvements in score and performance. He said that when the Tigers put it all together, they'll be dangerous.


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