COLUMBIA, Mo. - The No. 24 Mizzou gymnastics team knocked off No. 10 Arkansas with a 196.325-196.150 victory in the Tigers' home opener Friday night at the Hearnes Center. The win was the Tigers' first win over a top 10 opponent since the team defeated No. 9 Georgia, 195.800-195.350, on Jan. 22, 2016, and marked Missouri's the third-consecutive win over Arkansas.
Senior Kennedi Harris (Atlanta, Georgia) earned the vault title with a 9.925, a score that clinched Mizzou's win. Also victorious on the night was redshirt sophomore Morgan Porter (Overland, Missouri), who claimed the bars crown with a 9.900.
The Tigers entered the final rotation clinging to a 147.100-146.950. Mizzou responded with a season-best 49.225 on floor, including a Harris' 9.925 in the final routine of the meet, to hold off the Razorbacks and claim the victory.
Missouri took an early lead over Arkansas with a 49.025 on vault in the opening rotation. Senior Shauna Miller (Knoxville, Tennessee) and juniorsMadeleine Huber (St. Louis, Missouri) and Britney Ward (Ozark, Missouri) led the way with 9.825s, while Harris went 9.800.
Porter's 9.900 paced the Tigers to a 49.075 on bars, as four different Tigers earned scores of 9.800 or higher. Huber was just behind Porter with a 9.875 and senior Becca Schugel (Eagan, Minnesota) and sophomore Aspen Tucker (Lehigh Acres, Florida) both posted 9.800s.
The Tigers went six-for-six on beam to go 49.000 on the apparatus. Ward continued her strong meet with a team-best 9.875, followed by 9.800s from senior Tia Allbritten (Garland, Texas) and sophomore Brooke Kelly (Birmingham, Alabama).
The 9.925 for Harris in Mizzou's final routine of the night highlighted a strong floor rotation of 49.225, the team's highest event total of the young season. Tucker garnered a 9.875 in the middle of the lineup and junior Allison Bower (Mesa, Arizona) and sophomore Mary Nicholson (Richland Hills, Texas) each tallied 9.825s.
Mizzou Head Coach Shannon Welker "The goal this year is a little different than in years past. We've come out of the gates really strong the last two years and I felt like we had a little bit of a hard time maintaining that through the season. So we're trying to pace ourselves a little bit, a little more incremental throughout the year. Just try to get a little bit better, a little bit better until we get to a spot we want to maintain. So I thought we took a nice step from last week to this week."
"I knew (Kennedi Harris) needed to hit in order for us to win, or have a shot at winning. But she's been in that situation many, many times over her career and I think she's done a pretty good job in that role. That's why she's at the end, that's why she's our closer."
The Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to face No. 9 Arkansas on Friday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. CT. The meet will be broadcast live on SEC Network +.