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Missouri gymnasts set career highs, school records to beat Illinois State

Friday, February 26, 2010 | 10:03 p.m. CST; updated 12:14 a.m. CST, Saturday, February 27, 2010
Missouri senior gymnast Sarah Shire performs her balance beam routine during the Tigers' meet against Illinois State University on Friday, February 26, 2010. Shire set a new school record in all-around competition with 39.725 points.

COLUMBIA — Missouri gymnastics head coach Rob Drass told senior gymnast Danielle Guider he wanted her to perform her floor exercise one way: "Jersey Shore" style.

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Regardless of her feelings for the TV show, the Nutley, N.J., native performed with her own style all night, earning three career highs. Guider was one of six gymnasts with a record-setting night in Missouri’s 196.875-194.4 win over Illinois State at the Hearnes Center on Friday.

Senior Sarah Shire set a new school record in the all-around competition with a score of 39.725. She also tied the school record on floor exercise with a 9.975, a mark sophomore Mary Burke had tied minutes earlier. Senior Becky Scholle, freshman Lauren Swankoski and sophomore Allie Heizelman each had season high scores as well.

While Shire and Burke climbed atop the Missouri record book, Guider had one of the best nights of her career, setting career highs on uneven bars and balance beam and in the all-around competition.

“To me it just shows that all my hard work is paying off,” Guider said. “I’ve worked really hard lately and it’s paying off. That’s probably the biggest reward for me.”

Guider has worked on balance beam particularly hard lately, and her career high score of 9.85 fired her up.

“I wanted to stick my dismount so badly,” Guider said. “That was the one thing I’d been working on all week. When I stuck it I had the biggest smile on my face probably ever.”

After seeing her beam score come in, Guider used her energy to drive her teammates. She stood wherever the other gymnasts wanted her to strand and screamed encouraging cheers at them during their performances.

“I like to be screaming and yelling as loud as I can,” Guider said. “That helps me, I know, so it helps everyone else out there.”

Guider's encouragement contributed to her teammates record-setting performances.

Shire though has made a weekly habit of setting records and earning accolades this season, with four Big 12 Gymnast of the Week awards, career highs in three events, and two consecutive weeks posting new career highs in the all-around competition. Still, she always places the focus on the next competition.

Friday, she couldn’t help but revel in her record-setting night, sporting a big smile when her record was announced.

“It was really special,” Shire said. “My dad stood up and did a little dance in the stands. I had a lot of fans here tonight. It was a lot of fun. It almost brought tears to my eyes. It was something that I’ve worked really hard for.”

Despite a season high team score Friday, the Tigers are focused on improving. Guider said she thinks the team can perform even better.

"I think that we could post higher (scores)," she said. "There were still some mistakes, but most of the performances were really good."

For Guider, setting career highs and still looking for improvements must be her own "Jersey Shore" style.


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