COLUMBIA — "Be loud tonight!" Missouri gymnastics assistant coach Louis Robinson Jr. called out before the Tigers faced No. 8 Georgia on Friday. He wasn't talking to the gymnasts.
He was talking to members of the Fantastic Miznastics, Missouri's first official student section for the gymnastics team.
The Tigers fell to No. 8 Georgia 196.825-194.550.
Senior Tori Howard, sophomore Rachel Updike and freshman Miranda Eubank earned career high scores on the vault, scoring 9.875, 9.950 and 9.775, respectively. Updike took first in the event.
Sophomore Laura Kappler matched her career high score on the uneven bars with a 9.725.
Junior Taylor Medrea and senior Sandra Ostad earned career high scores of 9.800 and 9.850 on their floor routines, respectively. This contributed to the team's season high score of 48.800 on the floor rotation.
The Tigers will face the Arkansas Razorbacks on Friday, March 1, in Fayetteville, Ark.
"Meets are fun, and no one else comes to cheer," freshman Miznastics member Dominic Vollmar said.
The group sings, dances and even holds up their own score cards as the team performs, complete with the glittery letters "Go Mizzou!" painted across their chests.
Other sports have student sections, so gymnastics should too, Vollmar said.
"We try to draw people's attention and interest," Vollmar said. They even invite others to the meets through their Facebook page.
The Miznastics wasted no time, offering 10s to Missouri's gymnasts on their first rotation, the vault. They even led the rest of the crowd in chanting, "Ten! Ten! Ten!" after both senior Tori Howard's and sophomore Rachel Updike's vaults, which head coach Rob Drass said were "two of the best vaults they've ever done."
"It was a good feeling. I've wanted that 10 so bad," Updike said. "That was the first time anyone's chanted like that, so it was pretty exciting."
Updike matched her career high score of 9.950 for her vault to win the event. Howard also earned a career high 9.875 for the event.
Because MU was closed due to snow Friday, the team was expecting a small crowd. But the Miznastics took the opposite approach.
"We're going to be extra loud and have extra energy because we had no class," freshman member Eric Renne said.
The group kept it up throughout the meet, dancing along to Missouri's floor routines, jokingly awarding zeroes for Georgia's performances and even holding up their phone numbers on scorecards when Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" played.
"Every time I see them, I smile," Drass said. "I wasn't sure what we were going to have with the snow, and they help us as a team to compete."
Despite Missouri's 196.825-194.550 loss to Georgia, the Miznastics chanted "M-I-Z...Z-O-U!" as the meet came to a close.