Sienna Schreiber Missouri mounting the beam

“Program Gym Slam” Brings Special Significance for Missouri

Shannon Welker’s Missouri Tigers have experienced a meteoric rise over the last few seasons. 

After finishing No. 41 in his first season as head coach in 2014, the Tigers have climbed through the rankings every season since, finishing as high as No. 5 in 2022. This season, they completed the “program gym slam,” as Mara Titarsolej and Jocelyn Moore reached perfection on bars and floor to earn the program’s first perfect scores on those events. Moore was responsible for the program’s lone 10.0 on vault in 2023 while Sienna Schreiber tied the previous record set by Lauren Schwartzman in 2004 with a perfect 10 of her own on beam this season. 

Bars hasn’t always been a successful event for Missouri. The Tigers have been ranked in the top 30 every year since Welker’s arrival but currently have their highest event ranking at No. 11. Welker noted that bringing in Titarsolej has brought steadiness. “You got to have those people on events that just have some leadership and just command that event. [She has] a great presence.”

Though Titarsolej previously scored a 10 on bars at LIU, her experience competing in the SEC has been vastly different from what she was used to. “Getting up on the podium, [seeing] SEC everywhere, it’s so different. It was honestly amazing,” she said.

For Schreiber, scoring the first perfect 10 in her career in her fifth and final season was something she described as a surreal moment. Being surrounded by her team with hugs upon seeing both judges flash the 10, the moment meant more to her because of its timing.

“It was my mom’s birthday!” she said with a smile. “They have been at every single meet this year, so I’m happy it happened this year. I would rather have one very meaningful 10 than a bunch just because it means so much more.”

Watching Schreiber become an all-around leader for his team during her five seasons has impressed Welker, too. “She has just been so super steady for us. Since [her] junior year, she’s provided leadership, calmness, and positivity. I’m really going to miss her next year, but I’m going to enjoy the rest of this year with her.”

As Missouri moves further into the postseason, the team has momentum on its side. It scored a program-record conference championship score of 197.275 at SECs, finishing fifth overall. The Tigers head to Gainesville to compete for a shot to advance back to nationals as a team for the first time since that historic 2022 finish, and Welker knows his team has the talent. “We’ve had flashes of brilliance, so if we can find a way to level that out a little bit, I really feel like we can be competitive not just this year, but moving forward as well.”

For Titarsolej and Schreiber, both are focused on keeping the confidence the team has found throughout the season as they move into regional competition. “We are capable and we can do it when it’s most important,” Titarsolej said. 

Schreiber echoed Titarsolej and added that along with the confidence the team has found, she wants to see them continue to have a high level of energy as it gets ready for the Gainesville regional.

“[We have] the confidence, but [we also] need to have fun with it and bring the energy into the gym as well.”

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Article by Savanna Wellman

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