When sophomore Alicia Hatcher opened her e-mail Thursday night, she found out she was slated to lead the Missouri gymnastics team on the beam at Friday night’s Callaway Bank Cat Classic. It’s a tall order for any gymnast, not in the least because of Missouri’s beam problems this year and because it was her first meet back from a right ankle sprain.
“And just going first, I’ve never done that, so I was definitely nervous,” Hatcher said. “And with the beam troubles we’ve had, it was a nervous spot, but I think I did all right.”
“All right” may be an understatement in describing Hatcher’s 9.750, a score that would be the first of five successful Tiger beam routines. Although junior Katie Kluga fell from the event, only five scores are counted in the team total, so for the first time since the beginning of February, the Tigers didn’t have to count a fall.
“I was looking around for that monkey, and I didn’t see it, so I thought it was great,” head coach Rob Drass said of the five consecutive beam hits.
The clean beam rotation helped Missouri tally a 196.075, its highest team total of the season.
The Tigers won the team competition easily, topping Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and William and Mary.
The Tigers’ three other events were solid, if not spectacular. Their only other fall came from sophomore Adrianne Perry, an uncharacteristic mistake for the gymnast with the Big 12’s highest all around total this year. The Tigers recovered, however, with two solid routines from freshman Becky Scholle and Hatcher.
Drass cited Hatcher’s reemergence in the lineup as an added boost for the team.
Hatcher, who was in the bars, beam and floor lineups before her injury, competed only on bars and beam Friday and Saturday night. Although most athletes would want to get back into the lineup for personal reasons,
Hatcher has always put her ankle recovery in the context of the team.
“Our floor team is doing really well right now without me now, which is perfectly fine,” Hatcher said. “I’m content with not competing floor the rest of the year — that kind of sounds bad, but if our floor team was not doing as well, I think I would push myself a little bit more to get back in the lineup.”
The second night of competition featured the top 10 gymnasts based on scores from Friday’s events competing for individual event titles. The Tigers took most of the individual awards, placing first on all the events except for the beam.