Missouri freshman gymnast wins first event for Tigers

Monday, February 18, 2013 | 8:05 p.m. CST; updated 9:28 p.m. CST, Monday, February 18, 2013
Miranda Eubank performs on the bar during the meet against LSU on Feb. 8 at Hearnes Center. Eubank earned a career-high score of 9.800 for the routine.

COLUMBIA — For most of the Missouri gymnastics team, Friday's meet at the University of Kentucky was a typical away meet.

For freshman Miranda Eubank, it was like returning home.

Eubank, a Louisville, Ky., native, had a personal fan base of friends and family at the meet, making the atmosphere more exciting, Eubank said.

"I tried to give them the best show I could," she said.

She came up with an impressive performance, sticking her landing on the uneven bars, earning a career-high 9.900 to tie for first in the event. It was her first event win for the Tigers.

"It gives me confidence because I've done it before, so now I know I can do it again," Eubank said.

Missouri coach Rob Drass said he agrees that confidence is key for Eubank.

"She has an immense amount of talent," he said. "Her confidence will build with success."

Friends and family weren't the only familiar faces for Eubank at the Kentucky meet. She chose Missouri's gymnastics program over Kentucky's, and Eubank had met Kentucky's assistant coach Chuck Dickerson before.

"I just gave him a smile," she said.

But Eubank doesn't want to let the success get to her head, she said, especially after the "wake up call" she received with her disappointing 9.200 vault score following her winning bar routine.

She'll continue to train for the bars, vault and floor, which have become her role for the rest of the year, Drass said.

Not only is Eubank stepping up for her team in the gym, but she's also easing the transition into collegiate sports for her fellow freshmen teammates.

"I struggled with being homesick, and she'd take me out to dinner or to the movies just to get me out of the dorm," freshman Blair Elmore, Eubank's roommate, said. "She's a good listener and a good friend."

"I love the team. It's been a great experience so far," Eubank said. She'll continue the experience back at home — or at least back in Columbia — when Missouri takes on No. 8 Georgia on Friday at Hearnes Center.

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