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Team effort sets bars record

Sunday, February 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 3:10 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Missouri coach Rob Drass can’t remember the last meet in which his squad did not break a record.

The Tigers gymnastics team broke its uneven bars record again Friday against No. 15 Arkansas at Hearnes Center. The Tigers’ 49.325 was more impressive considering the struggles of one of the squad’s top performers in the event.

Andrea Nervig scored a 9.925 on the bars against Iowa State to set a career best and tie the MU record. Falls against Arkansas and at the Cat Classic last weekend caused her score to be dropped as the team’s lowest.

“Andrea is just in a little bit of a slump right now,” Drass said. “In practice she does a great job, she does a great job in warm-ups, so I think she’s just got to work her way out of it. I have complete confidence that she’ll do that.”

Taking a routine from practice to competition has caused problems for the Tigers. Nervig had too much power going into a major release Friday night and fell from the higher bar.

“She hits them every time in practice, so she’ll be back,” Jodie Heinicka said.

Jodie Heinicka scored a 9.875 on bars Friday to tie for second. She fell on bars in the individual competition at the Cat Classic on Feb. 7 after setting a school record on the same apparatus the night before.

Nervig and Heinicka had a solid week of practice before Friday’s meet. They felt confident about their skills going into the event, but with the pressure to score off her shoulders, Nervig fell again.

“She’s used to being in pressure situations. In the beginning of the year and last year we always had a fall, so she’s used to having to be OK and have that pressure there.” Heinicka said.

After her teammates put up high scores, Nervig appeared to lose some focus.

“Going last on bars is a big relief knowing everybody hit in front of me,” she said. “It lowers the pressure for me and now with knowing everybody hit I’m just not as stressed out about making it.”

Breaking the uneven bars record without a score from a key contributor is mostly a sign of individual improvement and Nervig is expected to stay in the uneven bars lineup.

“As Andrea Nervig comes back into consistency, she has the ability to put up a big 9.9, or 9.95 routine. That allows us to throw out a 9.8 and gets us from the 49.3 to a 49.5 range,” Drass said.

Heading into away meets where the team will perform on foreign equipment, confidence becomes more important.

“When we can go this score and fall, it just shows how much better we’ve gotten,” said Lauren Schwartzman said. “If we hit, even if we’re away, we can at least go with this score. To be able to go with this score and fall, far better.”


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