Redhawks Host Eagles on Military Appreciation Day - Southeast Missouri State University Athletics
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Redhawks Host Eagles on Military Appreciation Day
Kimberly Pickerl has recorded six scores of 9.700 or higher this season. Pickerl and the Redhawks host Eastern Michigan on Sunday.

Redhawks Host Eagles on Military Appreciation Day

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Southeast Missouri gymnastics team begins a two-meet home stand on Sunday when it brings Mid-American Conference foe Eastern Michigan to Houck Field House at 1 p.m. The Redhawks have four team meets left on its schedule and this stretch represents its final two home dates of the year, with the last coming on March 8.

Sunday's meet is Military Appreciation Day. Active, veteran and reserve military personnel get free admission with their military IDs. After the meet, the Redhawks host a free youth gymnastics clinic.

Last Week –
Southeast churned out a season-high score of 193.925 at Illinois State last Sunday. That marked the first time the Redhawks scored above 193 since Jan. 25. Taryn Vanderpool won her second-straight all-around title with a career-high 39.150, her second-straight all-around score above 39. Meanwhile, Taylor Penzien claimed her first career floor title with a 9.875, the highest event score for any Redhawk gymnast this season.

About Eastern Michigan – The Eagles rank 46th nationally with their 193.485 Regional Qualifying Score. EMU has scored 193 or higher in each of its last three meets, posting a 2-2 dual record in that span. Fifteen different gymnasts have competed in scored competition for the Eagles with only one Khadijah Hudson competing in the all-around in any meet this season. In six competitions, EMU has scored 193 or higher four times with a season-high score of 194.475 achieved in its season opener at Western Michigan on Jan. 20.

First Touch

Adding a Spark – Various injuries and illnesses have given other Redhawks expanded responsibilities the last few weeks. One competitor that has stepped up in that period is junior Kimberly Pickerl. The Naperville, Ill., native has competed in 14 of a possible 16 events in the last four weeks and notched six scores of 9.700 or higher in that time, including a 9.800 on vault at Boise State on Feb. 10 and another 9.800 on floor at Illinois State on Feb. 24.

Where They Stand – The Redhawks have a Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 192.780 after their Feb. 24 meet at Illinois State, ranking 51st nationally. The top 36 teams in the final rankings clinch a team spot in the NCAA Regional Championships. Entering this week, Pittsburgh sits 36th with a 194.515 RQS.

Impact Freshman – While 11 of Southeast's 13 gymnasts were on the roster last year, the team is getting a lift from one of its freshmen this season. Taylor Penzien cracked the lineup in at least two events for each of the first seven meets. She has competed in three events or more six times, including the all-around three times. Penzien has tallied nine scores of 9.700 or higher this season, all of which have come in the last six meets. On Feb. 24, Penzien set a season-high with a winning floor score of 9.875, the highest score in any event for a Southeast gymnast this season.

Vanderpool's Come of Age – Junior Taryn Vanderpool has emerged as a top gymnast for the Redhawks this season. After battling injuries for her first two campaigns, Vanderpool has stayed in the lineup to compete in the all-around in all seven meets this year. She has either won the all-around or finished second in the competition in all seven meets and leads the Redhawks with 19 scores of 9.700 or higher, something she did 13 total times in her first two seasons. Nine of Vanderpool's scores this year have been 9.800 or higher and she has set or tied career-highs on vault (9.775), beam (9.850), floor (9.800)  and all-around (39.150) this season. She currently ranks 13th in the South Central Region in all-around RQS (38.830)
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