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Columbia Missourian

Missouri gymnast Tori Howard's floor routine a fan favorite

By Anne Dankelson
February 8, 2013 | 11:49 p.m. CST
The Missouri gymnastics team fell short against No. 8 LSU Friday at the Hearnes Center.

COLUMBIA — When senior Tori Howard watches the videos her mom shoots of her floor routines, she's not always watching herself.

The clips sometimes feature "super fan" Larry Wyatt II, who attends virtually every home meet, Howard said.

Meet Results

No. 8 LSU defeated Missouri 197.275-194.575 on Friday at the Hearnes Center.

Freshman Miranda Eubank, senior Tori Howard and sophomore Rachel Updike set or matched career high scores, with Eubank's 9.750 on the vault and 9.800 on the beam, Howard's 9.850 on the vault and Updike's 9.900 on the beam.

Sophomore Laura Kappler competed in all four events for the first time in her career, finishing with an all-around total of 38.175.

Missouri will face Kentucky on the road next Friday. The meet will be shown on at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 on ESPNU.

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"He tries to do the 'gymnastics fingers,'" Howard said with a laugh, referring to the way gymnasts precisely position their hands during routines.

Although Wyatt gets on his feet, fist pumps and cheers for all of Missouri's gymnasts, Howard's floor routine is his favorite.

"I used to have it memorized," Wyatt said. "It was simply memorable."

Part of what left an impression on Wyatt was the routine's music, he said. Howard noted that the music was from the musical "West Side Story." 

However, the gymnasts get new floor routines every one to two years, and Howard has switched things up for her senior year, now performing to "You Can't Stop the Beat" from the musical "Hairspray."

"It needs a little work, but it's coming together," Wyatt said jokingly of Howard's new routine. He's still trying to master the new moves – Howard showed him her final pose last Friday at the Beauty and the Beast meet to help him out.

The new routine earned Howard a season-high 9.875 at Friday's meet against LSU, adding to her career-high 9.850 on the vault and her 9.775 beam score, with Wyatt cheering for each event.

"Great crowds only help us," head coach Rob Drass said, noting that silence after a routine can cause judges to award lower scores. "We appreciate everything our fans do."

Despite Missouri's 197.275-194.575 loss to LSU, this was one of the team's best meets, Drass said.

LSU put up several high scores, including sophomore Lloimincia Hall's perfect 10.000 on the floor.

"She has great energy. You cannot take your eyes off of her," Howard said of Hall's performance.

Even Wyatt gave Hall kudos, clapping when her winning score was announced at the end of the meet.

Although Missouri is "thin on floor depth," the team is confident in their training and hopes to qualify to the post-season, Drass said.

This leaves ample opportunity for the team — and Wyatt — to fine-tune their moves.