Rachel Updike continues excellent form for Missouri gymnastics

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 | 7:55 p.m. CST; updated 8:58 p.m. CST, Wednesday, February 12, 2014
The Missouri gymnastics team talks with one another during the Beauty and the Beast gymnastics and wrestling competition at the Hearnes Center on Friday.

COLUMBIA — All of the competitors at Missouri's gymnastics meet Friday sat on the Hearnes Center floor as the judges gave bouquets to the winners of each individual event.

Up and down. Up and down. Finally, Rachel Updike decided to just stay up.

She collected every bouquet.

Against Southeast Missouri State, Updike posted the highest individual score in every event — vault, balance beam, uneven bars and floor exercise — as well as the all-around competition. Her floor score of 9.900 and all-around score of 39.350 were both season highs for the Tigers.

Updike has been vital to the Tigers this year. Of the 20 individual events Missouri has competed in so far in 2014, Updike has posted the highest score 15 times. In addition, the team's highest scores on the vault, beam, bars and floor this season are all held or shared by Updike.

Not that she is satisfied with those results.

"I think there's always room for improvement," Updike said Tuesday.

She said her focus is on beam, which has been her worst event so far this season. But being an all-around gymnast requires attention to all four routines and focusing on strengths as well as weaknesses.

"My coaches and I feel my bar routine could go to nationals," Updike said. "I've set higher expectations of myself this season."

After the meet against SEMO, Updike's all-around average jumped up to 39.262 — the 18th highest figure in the country. The week after, it was business as usual in practice.

"I'm doing all the same stuff I did last week," she said.

Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.

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