MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University gymnastics team scored 49.0 or better on three events en route to a 196.175-194.95 victory over No. 22 Ohio State, today, at the WVU Coliseum.
Today’s win is the team’s first over a ranked opponent since defeating Southern Utah, 192.125-191.05, at Utah, on Jan. 19, 2013. The Mountaineers’ (6-7, 0-2 Big 12) team total is a season-high mark and its best score since earning 196.375 on March 3, 2013; the point total ranks No. 19 in the Mountaineer record book.
In addition to its overall season-high score, WVU also put forth season-best showings on vault (49.15), bars (49.025) and beam (49.025). The Mountaineers’ floor total of 48.975 matched its second-best score of the season.
“I thought today was great,” says Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “We still had a few stumbles that we need to figure out, but overall I think the team put forth a great performance. This was definitely our most complete meet of the season. I told the team after the meet – we are peaking at the right time. Now, we need some great road scores.
“We took down a ranked opponent today, and that should help this team’s confidence. We need to build on that confidence. If we take today’s energy and combine it with last week’s energy, we will be set for the remainder of the season.”
“Our seniors went out on a great note – I am really proud of them,” says Butts. “We had some scary moments today, but our seniors stepped up and made sure we didn’t count any falls.”
Sloanhoffer, the Big 12 Conference’s No. 1-ranked gymnast, won her sixth all-around title with a 39.3 score. Freshman Nicolette Swoboda
followed in third place with a career-best 39.2 showing. OSU’s Melanie Shaffer finished second with a 39.25 score.
The Mountaineers never trailed the Buckeyes (2-8, 1-4 Big Ten), as they used five scores of 9.8 or better on vault to catapult them to victory. Sloanhoffer matched her season-best score of 9.875 and tied OSU’s Sarah Miller for the event win, her third of the season. A trio of Mountaineers tied for third on vault, with Swoboda, Smith and sophomore Jaida Lawrence
all scoring 9.825. Junior Dayah Haley
finished seventh with a season-high 9.8, the meet’s third-best score.
Two season-high scores from seniors helped the Mountaineers break the 49.0 barrier on bars today. Freshman Alexa Goldberg
won the event with a 9.9, her second-best score of the season and the 29th-best mark in program history. Sloanhoffer tallied a season-high 9.85 and tied for second place, while Smith matched her season-best score of 9.825 and tied for fourth. Swoboda also matched her career-best mark of 9.75 and finished eighth.
Beam was the lone event a Mountaineer did not win today, as Miller finished first with a 9.875. Smith and junior Beth Deal
tied for second with 9.85s, a career-best score for Smith. Swoboda tallied a career-high 9.825 and tied for fifth, while Carpenter opened the lineup with a 9.8.
“Wow, Amanda was great in that leadoff spot today,” enthuses Butts. “She is a great starter on that event and the rock of that lineup.”
Freshman Mackenzie Myers
was the star of the team’s fourth rotation, as she won floor with a career-best 9.925 score. Only 50 gymnasts have scored better than 9.925 on floor in the program’s 40-year history. Sloanhoffer preceded Myers in the lineup with a second place, 9.875 routine, while Swoboda and Haley tied for fourth with 9.8s; the score is a career high for Swoboda.
With the win, WVU’s first over OSU since 2010, the Mountaineers move to 12-16 all-time against the Buckeyes.
WVU returns to the road this week, as the team will compete at No. 3 Florida, the reigning NCAA champions, on Friday, March 7 at 7 p.m.