MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer
earned the Linda Burdette-Good Award as the Most Valuable Gymnast of the West Virginia University gymnastics team for the second straight year at the squad’s 2012 season banquet, held tonight at the Erikson Alumni Center.
The Cornwall, N.Y., native scored the honor after a strong second season that saw her win the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Gymnast of the Year award. Sloanhoffer snagged three league titles – vault, uneven bars and all-around – en route to the team’s seventh league championship.
The MVP award is voted upon by team members. Sloanhoffer is the first Mountaineer to repeat as MVP in consecutive seasons since Mehgan Morris won the award in 2008 and 2009.
“Hope is very deserving of this award,” says first-year coach Jason Butts. “She led this team by example throughout the season. To repeat as the team’s MVP is a huge feat, especially when your teammates award you that honor. Hope had such a great year, and I’m excited to see where she goes from here.”
Sloanhoffer also won the Joseph Medrick Award as the team’s top all-around gymnast. The honor is the only award not based on a team vote.
Ranked No. 1 in the EAGL all season with a 39.2 regional qualifying score, Sloanhoffer also ranked No. 4 on vault and beam and No. 9 on bars. Nationally, she ranked No. 33 in the all-around, No. 47 on vault and No. 48 on beam.
Following her career-best 39.5 performance at the league championship, Sloanhoffer tallied 39.325 at the Auburn NCAA Regional Championships and just missed qualifying for the national championships with a sixth-place finish. She also tied for third on beam with a 9.85 score. She finished the year with 508.5 points, the 14th-best total in program history. Additionally, she ranks 11th in program history with 10 career 39.0-plus scores, all earned this season.
Other award winners tonight were sophomore Bethany Yurko
(Sally Medrick Award – most improved gymnast) and freshman Beth Deal
(John Quackenbush Award for Mountaineer Spirit).
Yurko is the fifth gymnast to repeat as the Sally Medrick Award winner. The Cumberland, Md., native saw her first collegiate action this season, vaulting in five meets and averaging 9.705 points. She tallied a career-best 9.75 on Jan. 15 in a win over Rutgers and earned four top-10 finishes. Yurko also pushed for lineup spots on bars and beam.
Deal, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native, earned her first team award on the heels of her beam victory at the EAGL Championship with a career-best 9.9 score. She clinched the EAGL win for the Mountaineers, as she was the last gymnast to compete on any event that day. Deal competed on beam eight times this season and earned 76.55 points and five top-five finishes.
Gymnasts that passed the 1,000 and 500 career point-total milestones also were recognized this evening. Senior Tina Maloney
finished her career with 1,227.9 points, while Sloanhoffer and junior Kaylyn Millick
own 900.825 and 831.2 career points, respectively.
The coaches also honored seniors Nicole Roach
and Maloney tonight.
The Mountaineers finished the season at 21-5, giving the team its first 20-win season since 2008. The squad also finished the year at 5-4 against ranked opponents. WVU won its league-best seventh EAGL title with a season-high 196.475 score and placed fifth at the Auburn Regional with a 195.9 showing, its second-best score of the season and the top regional-championships score in program history.