Gymnastics: No. 22 WVU Takes to the Road

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • February 17, 2012 12:38 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 22-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team opens a stretch of three straight road meets at Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 18, in a quad-meet with Rutgers and William & Mary, at 7 p.m., at the Comcast Center, in College Park, Md.

Tomorrow’s meeting is the second of the season between the Mountaineers (7-3, 3-0 EAGL) and the Terrapins (6-5, 2-2 EAGL) and the Scarlet Knights (6-5, 0-4 EAGL), both East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) opponents. WVU trumped UMD, 195.1-194.225, on Jan. 8, and rolled past RU, 193.425-191.65, on Jan. 15; both meets were at the WVU Coliseum.

All time, WVU is 33-14-1 against the Terps and 51-0 against the Scarlet Knights.

The Mountaineers, a perfect 13-0 against the Tribe (1-13, 1-3 ECAC), last defeated W&M, 194.475-187.725, at home, in 2010.

“It’s very important for this team to fight on the road the same way it has fought at the Coliseum this season,” says first-year coach Jason Butts. “We need to go out and make sure we are consistent so we have three high road scores to count toward our regional qualifying score. We’re looking forward to getting some 195.0-plus marks on the road.”

WVU, ranked No. 2 in the EAGL, looks to keep its unblemished league record intact; only No. 19 NC State and New Hampshire, No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in the league, remain undefeated.

“We just have to hit our routines this weekend,” Butts explains. “We want to keep that league record perfect, as we work toward our goal of winning the EAGL championship. We are pushing to finish this season undefeated in the league.”

The Mountaineers picked up three wins at the Comcast Center in 2010, scoring 194.6 and defeating UMD (193.925), Denver (192.85) and RU (190.55).

WVU is 1-1 away from the Coliseum this season, having won at Bowling Green, 193.475-193.225, on Jan. 21, and lost at then-No. 22 Michigan, 194.65-194.05, on Feb. 3.

The Mountaineers take to the road after scoring 195.175, their third 195.0-plus score of the season, in an upset win over No. 13 Auburn (193.65), on Feb. 12. WVU was narrowly edged by No. 11 Ohio State (195.45) and defeated Ball State (191.775).

WVU won vault with a 49.075 score and finished second on bars (48.975), beam (49.025) and floor (48.1); the bars and beam scores were season highs.

“We really are getting more and more confident on bars,” Butts says. “We have now shown that we are a 49.0-plus team on each event. If we can continue with that consistency, we will reach that 196.0 score very soon.”

Sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer, ranked No. 28 nationally and No. 1 in the EAGL in the all-around, led the Mountaineers in the upset with a first place, 39.175 score. The Cornwall, N.Y., native has earned 11 scores of 9.8 or better this season and has scored 39.0-plus five times. Sloanhoffer also won beam with a season-high 9.85 mark and tied for fourth on bars with a career-best 9.85.

Junior Kaylyn Millick made her all-around debut and finished third with a career-best 39.0 score. The Washington, Pa., native also placed fourth on bars (9.85) and beam (9.825); her bars score was a career best.

Senior Tina Maloney earned the Mountaineers’ first 9.9 score of the season with her winning vault, while junior Chelsea Goldschrafe placed second with a career-best 9.85 score.

Junior Alaska Richardson anchored the Mountaineers’ floor lineup with a fourth place, 9.725 showing; the Dayton, Ohio, native ranks fourth in the league with a team-best 9.808 average.

The Terps, ranked No. 4 in the league, fell at North Carolina, the reigning league champion, 195.225-192.7, on Feb. 10. UMD scored a season-high 48.95 on vault and is paced by sophomore Katy Dodds and junior Ally Krikorian on the event; Dodds ranks No. 1 in the EAGL, while Krikorian ranks No. 2. Krikorian also ranks No. 7 in the all-around with a 38.7 season average.

The Scarlet Knights scored 192.375 and defeated Brown (190.125) and SUNY Cortland (188.625) on Feb. 11. Sophomore Alexis Gunzelman scored 38.75 and finished first overall.

The Tribe is coming off a fourth-place finish at NC State on Feb. 11. W&M tallied 191.375, its second-best score of the season, and earned a season-high 47.575 on beam.