UK gymnastics pulls out victory over No. 15 Missouri

Jack Pilgrim

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Coming in as the underdog, ranked 25th in the country and Missouri ranked 15th, the UK gymnastics team knew it had a tough battle waiting for them on Father-Daughter night in Memorial Coliseum.

With SEC Network in the house showing the event live, and a coliseum full of girls on dates with their fathers, UK wanted to prove on national television it was worthy of its top 25 national ranking.

For the first event of the night, UK dominated on the vault, with no one scoring less than 9.725. Katie Stuart led the team with a score of 9.825, showing off just the start of an incredible night for the freshman. After the first event, the Cats led Missouri 48.925 to 48.800. 

Missouri, however, took over in the second event, with four of their gymnasts scoring over 9.80. Britney Ward carried her team, as she scored a team high of 9.875.

Though it fell behind, UK still competed well in this event, with senior Marissa Beucler leading the team with a 9.875. The Cats would edge past an impressive Missouri performance (48.8) and scoring 48.9 to win the uneven bars event title. 

Midway through the meet, Mizzou had edged the Wildcats 97.900 to 97.825. 

Though Missouri held a slim lead after two events, UK soon took over and never looked back. UK flourished on the balance beam, led by Cori Rechenmacher with a 9.875 and Sidney Dukes with a whopping 9.90.

With Mizzou slipping up a couple times, as Turner finished with a 9.125 and Harris finished with a 8.975, UK pulled away in this event. Four girls finished with over a 9.825 on beam for the Wildcats. 

UK finished off the Tigers in the final event, with Taylor Puryear leading the way with a 9.875 on floor. Mizzou’s Brooke Kelly fell off the beam twice, resulting in a score of 8.55. The Cats put the final nail in the coffin, and won the last event 49.025 to 48.15 

Individually, UK’s Stuart won the all-around with a total score of 39.875. All night long, she maintained an edge over the competition, and earned the individual victory.

“It was really exciting,” Stuart said on her return to the all-around. “I was happy to get the opportunity and wanted to take advantage of it. I loved getting to get back out on beam.” 

It was close for a while, but UK pushed out the hard fought victory with a final score of 196.050 to 194.675.

Though Mizzou led the way after two events, UK dominated the latter half of the meet. The UK girls came into the meet as underdogs, and came out showcasing their abilities on national television.