Mizzou's Freshman Phenom
COLUMBIA -- She's done what no other Mizzou gymnast has done and she's only a freshman. Rachel Updike received nine awards this year, most ever by a Missouri gymnast.
The nine time newcomer of the week set a Big 12 record with most awards given in a single season, three more weekly awards than Sarah Shire in 2010. Updike's goals go much further than newcomer of the year awards, "I hope we make it to the nationals sometime in my career, but that's my major goal. To be at nationals with all the top gymnastics teams."
Updike's potential is already stirring some talk among Coach Rod Drass who compares her to another Tiger great, Sarah Shire. Drass who feels his freshman phenom has a lot of potential saying, "you know I think she's going to be similar to Sarah. I think by the time she graduates, hopefully she'll be the best that's ever been here."
Even Shire has stuff to say about the newest Tiger talent, "I mean I'm honored that someone as good as Rachel is compared to me because I think her gymnastics is phenomenal. I really hope she has a great career" Shire said.
With how good Updike has been this season, coach Drass says Rachel can still improve with help from her team mates, "but I think we have some great kids on the team, and I think it's just a matter of Rachel learning from the upper class-men about how to be consistent, how to be part of a team."
If Updike wins newcomer of the year this season, she will be the fourth Tiger gymnast to win the award since 2002. That's the same award Shire won in 2007.