Missouri Hosts Big 12 Championship
COLUMBIA - The University of Missouri will host the 2011 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship this Saturday, March 19 in the Hearnes Center. The competition begins at 2 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the door. Tickets cost $8 for lower level reserved seating, $5 for adult general admission seating and $3 for youth or senior citizen general admission.
Missouri traveled to Columbus, Ohio, last time out for a meet against the Buckeyes of Ohio State and the Panthers of Pittsburgh. The Tigers took second place with a score of 193.325. Junior Mary Burke took the vault title with a score of 9.825, and Lauren Swankoski hit her second-highest score of the season in the all-around (38.475).
At last year's Big 12 Championships saw Sarah Shire taking home the all-around title for the second time in her career. She was also named Big 12 Gymnast of the Year for the second straight year. As a team, Missouri finished in third at the meet. It's team score of 195.900 kept it above Iowa State who put up a 194.850. The Sooners took the title, scoring a 197.175 and Nebraska came in at No. 2.
The 20th-ranked Cyclones (7-5-2) come into the Big 12 Championship after a tough loss to Nebraska in their final meet of the season. Junior standout Michelle Browning is the league's highest ranked all-around competitor and has been named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week three times this season. With close margins in the outcomes of nearly all of their events, the Cyclones will be a competitive team in this year's Championship.
The No. 11 Cornhuskers (9-7) come in off a win at home against Iowa State to enter the Big 12 Championship. Ranked third nationally in team vaulting, the Huskers are led by senior Erin Davis with an RQS of 9.935, ranking first in the nation as an individual. The Huskers look to use this strength to their advantage in the Championship.
Coming in at No. 4 in the nation, the Oklahoma Sooners (15-0) are coming off of a perfect regular season, the only NCAA team to do so this year. The Sooners will be competing for their fourth straight Big 12 title. Redshirt Sophomore Natasha Kelly scored a 9.900 on the beam last week, twice being named Big 12 Specialist of the Week for this apparatus. After posting their third highest score of the season in their last competition, the Sooners are prepared for a strong tournament showing.