COLUMBIA — Typically, it’s a good thing for a team to have a string of games at home to close out the season. Home games bring home fans and a sense of confidence.
Missouri gymnastics coach Shannon Welker, however, is actually excited that three of Missouri’s final four meets are on the road. He believes it could give the team a better opportunity to qualify for Regionals, the first step on the way to the National Championships in April.
In college gymnastics, when trying to get to the National Championships, wins and losses are irrelevant. Instead, a quirky metric system called the Regional Qualifying Score determines which teams make it to Regionals after the regular season.
To calculate the score, a team first compiles their top three away total scores of the season. The next step is to take the next three highest scores — these can be home or away. Of the six scores, the team’s highest score is dropped. The average is taken of the remaining five. The result is the team’s Regional Qualifying Score.
The top 36 teams qualify for Regionals. Missouri’s Regional Qualifying Score currently ranks 32nd.
Welker is excited about closing the season on the road precisely because of the away scores system.
"Road scores are very valuable this time of year," Welker said. Welker also said if a team's top six scores all come on the road, they can all be used for the Regional Qualifying Score.
"Pointed toes, straight legs — we’ve been focusing on the minute details in practice," senior Cathryn Aliceaacosta said. Aliceaacosta has yet to compete this season due to injury, but said that at the beginning of the season, "it's more acceptable just to hit (the routine) and make it."
She explained it’s often capitalizing on the minute details that result in stellar scores and higher rankings. Missouri's next meet on Friday takes place in Baton Rouge, La., against the nation’s number one team, LSU. The meet will be a perfect opportunity to put up the highest score possible, an excellent place to bolster Missouri's push for regionals.
"We are excited to compete against the best," Welker said. "We use it as motivation."
Supervising editor is Sasu Siegelbaum.