DENVER, Colo. – The No. 24-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team recovered from an early deficit and rallied back to finish first at Denver’s quad-meet with a 194.175 score tonight inside Hamilton Gymnasium.
Despite sitting in fourth place after the first rotation, the Mountaineers (13-4, 5-1 EAGL) retained their focus and overcame the deficit to defeat the No. 19 Pioneers (194.1), No. 13 Missouri (194.025) and Western Michigan (193.825).
Tonight’s wins put WVU at 3-3 against ranked opponents this season; the Mountaineers previously defeated then-No. 13 Auburn on Feb. 12. WVU also improves to 7-2 on the road this year.
“This was a good night for the Mountaineers,” says coach Jason Butts. “We traveled all the way out here and did our job. We earned three wins over some great teams. I’m proud that we stayed focused after the first rotation. We definitely had some mistakes, but we will fix those this week in the gym.”
WVU won vault (49.0) and finished second on floor (48.95) and third on bars (48.425) and beam (47.8).
Sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer scored 39.1, her seventh straight 39.0-plus mark, and finished fourth overall. The Tigers’ Mary Burke won the meet with a 39.325 mark.
The Mountaineers started the meet in fourth place, opening up with a 47.8 beam showing. DU jumped out to the early lead with a 48.825 on vault, while Mizzou scored 48.7 on bars and WMU earned 48.425 on floor.
Freshman Beth Deal returned to the beam lineup after a five-week absence and anchored with a team-best 9.725, good enough for fifth place. Sloanhoffer preceded Deal with a 9.7 and finished in eighth place, while Millick tallied 9.675 and Goldschrafe scored 9.65.
WVU recovered in the second rotation and moved in to second place, scoring 48.95 on floor, a season-high road score, and pushing its team total to 96.75. WMU sat in first place with 97.25, while Mizzou dropped to third (96.325) and DU fell to fourth (96.1).
Junior Alaska Richardson, ranked No. 2 in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL), matched her career high with a winning 9.875 routine. Millick anchored the lineup with a season-best 9.825, good enough for sixth place, while Sloanhoffer and sophomore Makenzie Bristol each tallied 9.775s.
The Mountaineers continued to roll in the third rotation, scoring 49.0 on vault and pushing their second-place score to 145.75. WMU remained in first with 145.975. Mizzou continued to sit in third (145.05), while DU trailed the field in fourth (144.925).
Sloanhoffer, ranked No. 48 in the nation, anchored the Mountaineers’ vault rotation with a season-best 9.9 and finished in second place. Goldschrafe tallied 9.825 and finished in fifth place, while Richardson scored 9.8, good enough for sixth. Maloney preceded the trio with a 9.75.
The Mountaineers jumped the Broncos in the final rotation with a 48.425 bars score.
Sophomore Erica Smith clinched the overall victory and anchored the team’s lineup with a third place, 9.825 routine. Senior Nicole Roach finished second on the team, fifth overall, with a 9.775. Sloanhoffer finished third on the team with a 9.725.
WVU continues to lead the all-time series with each team and improves to 4-2 over DU and Mizzou and 2-0 against WMU.
The Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum next weekend for their final home meet of the season. WVU welcomes No. 8 Arkansas on Saturday, March 10, at 6 p.m. Roach and Tina Maloney will be honored at the meet’s conclusion.