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Tigers lose to coach’s former team, Nebraska

Coach says team rises to occasion against Cornhuskers
Sunday, January 28, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 4:03 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

When Missouri gymnastics coach Rob Drass looked across Hearnes Center on Friday night, he saw a familiar sight: the red and cream warm-up suits of the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who he coached for eight years.

Drass, who has been at Missouri since 2000, says that fact changes nothing in terms of the team’s preparation, but believes it may be a factor in the high-scoring history of the event in the past few years.

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Mizzou head gymnastics coach Rob Drass, right, and graduate assistant Jodie Heinicka applaud as an MU gymnast, left, finishes her routine Friday at Hearnes Center. (Photos by EDUARDO QUINONES/Missourian)

And while none of the MU gymnasts would admit to being affected by their coach’s history, they couldn’t help but notice a few striking similarities between Drass and current Nebraska coach Dan Kendig.

“One thing that we noticed before the meet even started is that our coach always drinks Mountain Dew,” MU junior Julie Abaray said. “And we looked over when Nebraska was warming up today and their head coach had a Mountain Dew and we’re like, ‘I wonder if he got that when he was at Nebraska?’”

“I’m sure it’s in the back of their brains,” Drass said of the gymnasts. “I’ve never spoken to them about it, but I know every year we always have one of our best performances against Nebraska.”

This year was no exception, with the No. 22 Tigers tallying their highest team score of the year – a 195.00, despite being topped by the No. 7 Cornhuskers’ 196.80 mark.

“We had a couple falls and that was the biggest thing we gave away,” Drass said. “It’s kind of a bittersweet thing. We’re heading in the right direction and we’re doing much better.”

Sophomore Adrianne Perry, the Tiger’s only four-event gymnast, posted personal best scores on vault with a 9.925 and floor with a 9.900. Abaray also tumbled to a personal best on floor with a 9.850.

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Drass, huddles with his team during Friday’s meet. Drass who coached Nebraska for eight years, came to MU in 2000.

The team’s highest score of the night came on its first event, vault, where Missouri tallied a season-high team vault score of 48.950.

The Tigers lowest event score came on beam, where it counted a fall in junior Nikki Bowman’s leadoff routine and from Perry who anchored the rotation.

Perry’s fall came on a relatively simple skill at the beginning of the routine, but she hit the rest without a hitch, scoring a 9.35.

Another uncharacteristic mistake occurred on vault, when junior Ashley Khederian fell on her landing, errors Drass attributes to Nebraska’s high national ranking.

“Those are the kind of weird things that I think sometimes when you’re in a meet and you know you almost have to be perfect to beat a team, those kind of things come out,” Drass said.

The All-Around title went to Nebraska junior Desire’ Sniatynski with a 39.375, followed by fellow Cornhusker sophomore Kylie Stone with a 39.335 and Mizzou’s Perry who scored a 39.025.


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