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Tigers land upset

No. 14 Missouri beat No. 8 Oklahoma after the Sooners faltered on the balance beam.
Monday, March 1, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:39 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008

While Missouri set a school record on the balance beam, two of Oklahoma’s gymnasts stumbled off the four-inch wide apparatus to allow the Tigers an upset victory.

As Alisha Robinson’s floor routine music, themes from the movie Gladiator, swelled through Hearnes Center on Sunday, the crowd began to realize that Missouri could steal the meet from Oklahoma.

The Tigers entered its final rotation trailing significantly, but season-high floor routines from Andrea Nervig and Lauren Schwartzman helped MU surge to a 197-196.225 victory, its first win against the Sooners in Big 12 competition.

In a sport where margins of victory are as slim as gymnasts themselves, No. 14 Missouri entered the final rotation down 148.225-147.650. Missouri performed its floor rotation while the No. 8 Sooners did their balance beam routines.

“After three events, we felt pretty confident we had the meet in control,” Oklahoma coach Steve Nunno said. “Things were going great, and then all of a sudden, one little slip and it looked like dominos.”

Oklahoma’s first two gymnasts got through their routines with few deductions, but the middle of the lineup struggled. Despite a 9.95 from Kasie Tamayo, who won the all-around competition, the Sooners scored 48.525.

“We just kind of gave it away there at the end,” Nunno said. “I guess we’d call it a cat fight, coming to the Tigers’ town. I really felt it was going to come to the last event anyway, maybe even the last competitor.”

If the meet did come down to one person, it was Schwartzman. Her 9.95 on the floor exercise earned a tie for first with Tamayo.

As the last gymnast to compete for Missouri on the floor, Schwartzman had to ice her left foot before performing. Tigers coach Rob Drass said Schwartzman suffers from plantar fasciitis, a slight sprain to the arch of the foot.

“(Schwartzman) has been doing a great job all year long, she’s really reliable,” Drass said. “She’s beat up and injured a little bit, so we’re going to rest her next week get her healthy so we can get some 9.95s and 10s out of her going into the postseason.”

Nervig, a senior, scored a 9.925 on the floor. She also earned the Tigers’ highest score on the uneven bars, sticking her landing to earn a 9.9 that tied her for second.

Missouri, which has struggled on uneven bars throughout the season, did not have any falls. Drass changed the event’s lineup, removing Jodie Heinicka, who has a swollen right knee. MU tied its second best score of 49.250.

Schwartzman, ranked No. 6 on balance beam, led the Tigers’ pristine performance on beam, scoring another 9.95. She again tied Tamayo for first to claim Missouri’s two top finishes.

She stuck her landing, enthusiastically clapping her hands after saluting the judges and cheering along with the crowd of 1,012. The Tigers earned a 49.325.

Career-high scores from Kelley Andersen (9.875) and Amanda Pezzullo (9.8) set up Robinson and Schwartzman on the balance beam.

Robinson performed on the balance beam after sitting out the event on the Tigers’ road trip last weekend. She has a cut on her left toe.

Sunday she earned a 9.9, nailing a series of back handsprings, which caused her to fall off the beam in her previous appearance.

The team appeared sluggish on vault to open the meet. Schwartzman and Amanda Pezzullo both earned 9.775 for their vaults, their first scores below 9.8 this season.


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