LIVE BLOG: No. 9 Missouri at No. 7 Auburn

I hope everyone is mentally and emotionally prepared for this battle of the Tigers. Both of these teams were chasing record breaking numbers last weekend with Missouri coming in at a 197.650 to Auburn’s 197.750. Holy crap. Missouri is having the best season of its life thanks to the addition of its star-studded freshman class. Amari Celestine and Jocelyn Moore are among the top freshmen in the SEC and the country. They fly largely under the radar only because they go to Mizzou and not the Floridas and LSUs of the world. Watch for their gigantic tumbling, beautiful Yurchenko one and a halves and some fun floor dance to boot. Helen Hu was out last week in the team’s record-breaking performance. Obviously the beam lineup misses her lovely lines and effortless grace, but clearly the Tigers have plenty of depth to allow her to rest as needed. Of course I can’t forget about star all-arounder Sienna Schreiber. She posted a 39.550 last week, and she’ll be looking to hang with the Olympic all around champion this week. Who knows? Crazier things have happened. I’m here for it. 

Speaking of a freshmen class energizing a team, here comes Auburn. After sitting at the bottom of the SEC for all of 2021, the Tigers have come out this season with guns blazing. Auburn enters this week with both of the co-SEC freshmen of the week on its roster and the No. 1 all around athlete in the country (or the world…you choose). Of course I could state the obvious and say, “Auburn is great because…Sunisa Lee,” but one athlete does not a good team make. Auburn clearly has been putting in the work to be a more consistent, confident team this year. Not only does Lee look as sharp as ever, but Derrian Gobourne, Drew Watson and Aria Brusch have all upped their game. Speaking of Gobourne…I’m still waiting for a 10.0 on floor. There is not a more entertaining routine in the NCAA. She is literally the only person who could make walking from one corner to another for the next pass an enjoyable experience. And don’t forget to always adorn your crown, Ladies! Anyway, the Tigers will be looking to just keep the ball rolling this week. Of course coming away with an SEC win will also be a goal, but the NQS-worthy score will be a nice addition as well. 

This should be a close one, folks. I hope you’re prepared to be on the edge of your seats for an entire two hours. I am! 

Rotation 1: Auburn VT, Missouri UB

Walsh (AUB): Yurchenko full, small hop back. Decent height. 9.775

Marshall (MIZ): Blind, Jaeger, overshoot. Smooth connection. Archy last handstand. Sky high FTDT with a small hop. Good opening routine for Mizzou. 9.825

Groth (AUB): Yurchenko full. Does she ever not stick? Asking for myself. So technically sound on that. 9.850

Schreiber (MIZ): Maloney, Overshoot handstand. Good. Double layout. Piked down some with a hop forward.

Lee (AUB): Yurchenko full. Landed with straight legs and a hop back. Good height and distance. 9.850

Patrick (MIZ): Vault over mount. Blind, Jaeger. Just missed it. The blind was a little late, release was a little early. Overshoot hand. Some leg separation. Double layout. Went too hard for the stick and had to take a step forward. Very uncharacteristic for Patrick. 8.800

Hubbard (AUB): Yurchenko 1.5. Good distance. Pretty large hop/lunge forward. 9.800

Moore (MIZ): Blind full, Tkatchev, overshoot. Some form on that connection. FTDT without a giant. How? Small step on the landing.

Watson (AUB): A near stuck Yurchenko 1.5 with the slightest hop. Some knees in the air. 9.925

Sheremeta (MIZ): I can hear the Gymnastys. Blind, Jaeger, overshoot. Clean on that connection. Blind, Rudi dismount. Stuck. Nice routine for her!

Gobourne (AUB): Yurchenko 1.5. Wasn’t expecting that landing. Soft in the knees with a step forward. 9.900

Celestine (MIZ): Toe hand, Maloney, pak salto. Killed her swing on the maloney. Maloney half. Stalder, Stalder front pike 1/2. Stuck! So pretty on that dismount.

AFTER ONE: Auburn 49.325, Missouri 49.150

Solid first rotations for both teams. Auburn needs to dial in a few more of those vault landings to get the huge scores. To that end, I have seriously never seen Sophia Groth take a step on her Yurchenko full. She’s going for another SEC freshman of the week honor. Missouri pulled together to avoid counting a fall. Mizzou will look to make up some ground with its trio of Yurchenko 1.5s in the next rotation.

Rotation 2: Missouri VT, Auburn UB

Schaffer (MIZ): Yurchenko full. Clean in the air, not a huge vault, but gets the job done. A hop back. 9.725

Watson (AUB): Ray. Short handstand, toe hand, overshoot. Not quite in handstand. FTDT with a hop. Some form in the air. 9.800

Marshall (MIZ): Yurchenko full. Small hop in place. A little short of distance and height. 9.700

Sabado (AUB): Ray, good height. Toe hand, overshoot. Some leg separation. Short last handstand. Double layout. Almost stuck it… small hop back.

Schreiber (MIZ): Yurchenko full. Lovely extension on the shape in the air. Small foot adjustment. Best vault so far. 9.825.

Stevens (AUB): Toe hand, Ray. Feet in the air. Overshoot handstand. Good. Double layout. Some pike down with a hop. 9.850

Celestine (MIZ): Yurchenko 1.5. Good height and distance. A small hop forward today. 9.875

P. Smith (AUB): Toe hand, Maloney, Pak salto. Her hand slipped off, and she hit the mat HARD. She keeps touching the back of her head. Does she really need to finish? I’m nervous. Good last handstand. Double layout. Medium hop back. Auburn will want to drop that score. 9.125

Moore (MIZ): The height on that Yurchenko 1.5 has my jaw on the floor. Wow! Couldn’t quite control the landing today. Medium sized step forward. 9.800

Gobourne (AUB): Tkatchev, Pak salto. Perfect distance on the Pak. Pretty late on the turn on low bar. FTDT with a hop back. 9.850

Davis (MIZ): Yurchenko 1.5. Very out of control on the landing. Soft knees and a large lunge forward. 9.650

Lee (AUB): Another sell out for Auburn? I love that! Maloney, Pak, Maloney half. FTDT. Small hop back. Dismount landing was the only deduction.

AFTER TWO: Auburn 98.550, Missouri 98.075

Those vault landings didn’t quite cut it for Mizzou. It seemed like the team was trying a little too hard to compete well rather than trusting their training and letting it happen. Auburn bars went off without a hitch after Piper Smith’s fall. Part of me is wondering where Aria Brusch was in the lineup this week. Hopefully both teams will loosen up some going into the third event. The gymnastics is looking a little tight so far.

Rotation 3: Auburn BB, Missouri FX

Hollingsworth (AUB): BHS LOSO. So solid. Soft smiles. Switch leap, switch half. Not quite around and had to lift the leg to stay on. Split 1/2 on the side of the beam. Side Aerial, full dismount. Really good minus the check on the leap. 9.775

Schreiber (MIZ): Rudi, back tuck, front tuck. I don’t think that second flip is normally a tuck shape. I could be wrong. Front full, front LOSO, right into the dance. Switch half, split full. Good split position. Nice opening routine. 9.725

P. Smith (AUB): I love that mount. Needle to show off her flexibility. Switch leap, switch half. Nice shape in the air. BHS LOSO. She’s looking so confident. Yes ma’am! BHS back 1.5 dismount. Stuck. 9.900. Oh yeah!

Burns (MIZ): Whip double tuck. Nice one. Front full, front layout. Good control. Switch side, popa. Another solid one! 9.775

Stevens (AUB): BHS LOSO. Solid. Split, ring jump. Slight bobble. The STEVENS. RO back 1.5 dismount. Another stick! 9.950

Sheremeta (MIZ): Front double full. Pretty form in the air. Good amplitude on the leaps. Rudi, LOSO. Back 1.5, front LOSO. Her lines on floor are out of this world. 9.875

Groth (AUB): BHS LOSO BHS. Nice. Switch leap, a little off. Switch half, split jump. Good cover to get the leap connection requirement. Front Aerial. Nice. Side Aerial, full dismount. Stuck. 9.900

McCrary (MIZ): Front lay, Rudi. Good control on that. Double pike. Another clean landing. Switch side, popa. Back 2.5 twist. A little short on the landing with a hop back. 9.725

McLaughlin (AUB): Switch leap, BHS LOSO. Solid this week. Beat, side aerial. Switch leap, straddle 1/4. No wobbles here. Gainer pike off the end. Stuck. 9.975!!!!

Moore (MIZ): Double layout. Nice form in the air. So much amplitude on the leap. Front tuck through to double tuck. Large lunge back. 9.900

Lee (AUB): Wolf 1/1 turn. Front Aerial, BHS LOSO. So lovely. This beam team is on another level. Switch leap, switch side. BHS gainer full. Small hop back. 9.900

Celestine (MIZ): FTDT. So high! Oh my! Tour jete half, split full. Back 1.5, front layout. Good control. Double tuck. A little over cooked with a slide back. 9.900

AFTER THREE: Auburn 148.175, Missouri 147.250

Holy crap Auburn beam! 49.625 for a program record. I’m speechless.

The one-two punch of Moore and Celestine was lights out yet again. Mizzou is still on track for a decent score this week, but it fell off of Auburn’s pace a bit that rotation.

Rotation 4: Missouri BB, Auburn FX 

Marshall (MIZ): Front Aerial. Solid. Front toss, a little crooked. Backing it up to try again. Front toss, BHS… Missed three-out-of-four limbs. Won’t get credit for that. Split jump. Another bobble. Split jump, straddle 1/4. VERY large wobble with a leg up correction. Gainer full dismount with a hop back. The pressure just went up for the rest of the lineup. 8.500

Brown (AUB): A collegiate floor debut in the lead off spot? Why not? FTDT. Some low chest on the landing. Switch side, popa. Good height. Front tuck through to double tuck. Held on way too long and sat it down. Just tried a bit too hard there. 9.000

Well… let’s get this back on track ladies.

Gatzendorf (MIZ): BHS BHS LOSO. Nice and solid. Split jump, split ring jump. Gainer pike dismount. She’s hype! As she should be! Way to bring it back after the fall. 9.825

Stevens (AUB): Front lay, Rudi. Good control on the landing. Tour jete full, wolf full. Fine enough. Double tuck. Goooooood! Maybe the slightest chest down. No one is stopping Auburn today! 9.825

Schaffer (MIZ): She looks fierce. BHS BHS LOSO. A wobble there. Front Aerial. Nice. Switch leap, split jump. Good. RO back 1.5 dismount. Stuck. Good minus the series wobble. That’ll work. 9.750

Groth (AUB): Front double full. One of the best. Switch half, wolf full. Nice positions on that. Back 1.5, front lay. The student section goes wild! Rudi. A little bouncy, but I’m not too mad at it. Another strong routine from the freshman! 9.925

Sheremeta (MIZ): Beat jump. BHS LOSO. A small correction. Split jump, double stag jump. Strong finish. Front Aerial. She’s looking sharp. Gainer full off the end. Very difficult and unique dismount with a slight hop.

Watson (AUB): Double Arabian. Much better this week. Controlled step forward. Back 1.5 front layout. Too much power but straight into the dance. A little under rotated on the leap pass. Double tuck. Just kept it in bounds.

Where did Ashley Miles go? I miss her commentary.

Hu (MIZ): Yay! Lovely mount as usual. Turn with leg up. Front Aerial. Wobble with a bend at the waist. Liukin. Nice. Beat, split 3/4. Front Aerial BHS. Way to work with it. A back roll to meet the backward skill requirement. Gainer full dismount. She fought for that routine! Another make!

Lee (AUB): Double layout. Some knees in the air but perfect landing. Switch ring, tour jete half. Pretty extension. Back illusion to middle split. Back 1.5, front full. A little under rotated on that this week but manages it well. 9.925

Schreiber (MIZ): BHS LOSO. A wobble there. Beat, split 3/4. Solid. Switch half, split jump, beat, gainer full dismount. Good landing.

Gobourne (AUB): If I forget to comment, I’m speechless. Perfect landing on that open first pass. A little off on the leap rotation but worked it around. Front full, front lay. A strut break. Double pike. OMG! Best landing of them all. “Spicy. A little Saucy.” Agreed.

Final: Auburn 197.575, Missouri 196.275

Here come the Tigers! The winner of the day was Auburn beam. That was the third best team performance in program history, and it darn well showed. This team has been largely underestimated despite having the Olympic All Around champion. This is a brand new 2022 team that could really contend for a conference title…stay tuned.

Missouri was not quite firing on all cylinders tonight. The team has talent to go a long way this post season, but not if they don’t find more consistency.

AA Winner: Sunisa Lee, 39.575

VT Winner: Drew Watson, 9.925

UB Winner: Sunisa Lee & Amari Celestine, 9.900

BB Winner: Gabby McLaughlin, 9.925

FX Winner: Sophia Groth & Sunisa Lee, 9.925

Live Blog by Tavia Smith

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