MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Nine career-best scores fueled the No. 25 West Virginia University gymnastics team to a season-best 195.775 score in wins over George Washington and Towson, today, at the WVU Coliseum.
The Colonials, an East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) foe, scored 193.125 and finished second, while the Tigers tallied 190.875 for a third-place finish.
The Mountaineers’ (5-1, 3-0) team score, their second 195.0-plus mark of the season, is the 27th-best in the program’s 39-year history and WVU’s best total since scoring 195.925 in a loss to Penn State (196.225) in 2009.
WVU scored a season best on each event and tallied three team totals of 49.0 or more. The Mountaineers swept the Colonials (5-3, 0-2 EAGL) and the Tigers (6-2, 1-0 ECAC) on all four events, scoring 49.1 on vault, 48.6 on bars, 49.0 on beam and 49.075 on floor.
“I really liked the energy, enthusiasm and determination this squad showed today,” says first-year coach Jason Butts. “Even though our score was a season high, we still had some mistakes that I know can be fixed in Cary Gym this week. We are a 196.0-plus team; we may be able to score even higher than that.”
The Mountaineers dominated the podium, with six gymnasts earning 14 top-three finishes. Juniors Kaylyn Millick, Alaska Richardson and Chelsea Goldschrafe reached the podium a combined eight times, including three appearances each for Millick and Goldschrafe; sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer also saw the podium three times. Additionally, senior Nicole Roach, competing in just two events, finished first on bars and beam.
“Hopefully today’s outcome gives this team the confidence it needs for a memorable season,” expands Butts.
Sloanhoffer tallied 39.2 points, her third 39.0-plus mark of the season, and finished first overall. Senior Tina Maloney scored 38.675 and finished second, while GW’s Stephanie Stoicovy placed third with a 38.55 showing.
WVU used meet-opening momentum to capture an advantage in the first rotation that it would never relinquish, as the squad tallied a season-best 49.1 on vault to power it to first place. GW earned 47.875 on bars, while Towson registered 47.125 on beam.
Four season-high scores, including two career bests, pushed the Mountaineers toward their dominating meet-opening score. For the second straight home meet, Sloanhoffer and Richardson anchored the lineup with winning season-best scores of 9.875. In just her second vault appearance of the season, Goldschrafe matched her career best and earned a 9.825, good enough for third place. Additionally, freshman Dayah Haley opened the rotation with a career-best 9.775 score, her third at the Coliseum this season, and finished fifth overall.
The Mountaineers hit six-for-six on bars and matched their season-best score of 48.6 to push their running tally to 97.7. GW earned 48.45 on beam and remained in second place with 96.325 points, while Towson scored 47.425 on floor for a 94.55 total.
Roach, ranked No. 24 in the Southeast Region, earned a season-best 9.825 score and finished first outright. Sloanhoffer improved her bars score for the second straight meet and earned a career-best 9.8, good enough for second place. Millick matched her career-high mark of 9.775 and finished third. Also of note, sophomore transfer Erica Smith made her Coliseum debut and opened the rotation with a solid 9.625 mark.
“We decided to be more aggressive on bars this week, and I thought the team really took that message to heart,” says Butts. “Erica set the tone for us today, and they each went out there and hit like I knew they could.”
WVU continued its strong pace in the third rotation, scoring a season-high 49.0 on beam for a 146.7 team total. GW earned 48.2 on floor for a second-place 144.525 total, while Towson scored 48.4 on vault and sat in third with a 142.95 score.
Roach and Millick, each competing in the beam lineup for just the second time this season, scored 9.85 and tied for first place; the mark is a career best for both. Goldschrafe, averaging 9.55 on beam entering today’s meet, scored a season-best 9.8 and finished third overall, while Maloney matched her career-best score of 9.75 and tied for fifth place.
The Mountaineers closed the meet with a 49.075 showing on floor. The Colonials finished the day on vault and scored 48.6, while Towson registered 47.925 on bars.
WVU’s floor lineup, ranked No. 9 nationally, tallied three scores of 9.8 or better, with Richardson setting the pace and finishing first overall with a career-best 9.875 mark; the Dayton, Ohio, native has scored 9.825-plus in three meets this season. Millick and Goldschrafe each earned a season-best score and tied for second place with 9.825s, while Sloanhoffer and sophomore Makenzie Bristol scored 9.775 and finished in a fourth-place tie.
Today’s wins improve WVU’s series advantages over GW and Towson to 42-1 and 17-10, respectively.
Of note, the Mountaineers welcomed back retired coach Linda Burdette-Good today and paid tribute to her 37-year career at WVU.
The Mountaineers return to action at No. 19 Michigan on Friday, Feb. 3, for a 6 p.m. meet at the Crisler Center.