A Historic Homecoming
COLUMBIA - Ashley Priess is an All-American gymnast on the number one ranked and two time defending champs Alabama Crimson Tide. Priess and Alabama took on Missouri on Friday, January 11, 2012. But this was more than just a regular meet for Priess.
"It's pretty cool that my mom competed here and just being able to come back and revisit and see you know where she competed and where she experienced her college years it's a very neat feeling," said Ashley Priess.
Her mother Linda Priess not only competed for Mizzou, but was actually part of the very first Mizzou gymnastics team back in 1979.
"Oh we've had a great time back here. It's been sort of like memory lane, looking around and just feeling the memories that we had in this arena and just looking around it's just been really great," Linda Priess said.
The 1979 team was started when the university contacted Jake Jacobson about starting a Division I Gymnastics program at Mizzou.
"Well I came down from Iowa in 1979 from Grand View College to start the program and I brought several gymnasts from Grand View College in Des Moines down here," Linda Priess said.
And back in 1979 things were a bit different for then Linda Freed and Coach Jacobson.
We didn't have a practice facility. We used to carry the balance beam down these stairs if you can believe that, all the way up to the top," said Jacobson.
And coach is excited that the gymnastics tradition has not only lived on at Mizzou, but also for his former gymnast.
"It really gives me a great feeling to see a mother daughter on this floor knowing that I coached the mother and so on," said Jacobson.
And mom will always cheer for her daughter, but once a Tiger, always a Tiger. .
"Well I had to jump in on those MIZ-ZOU cheers. We did those long ago," Linda Priess said.