PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Powered by a solid-scoring floor lineup, the West Virginia University gymnastics team opened its 2013 season with a 194.675-193.55 win at Pitt, tonight, at Fitzgerald Field House.
The Mountaineers (1-0) tumbled their way to victory and defeated the Panthers (0-1) on three events tonight, winning vault (48.925-48.15), beam (48.15-47.675) and floor (49.025-48.975); Pitt earned the bars win (48.75-48.575).
“We had a wonderful meet and a solid showing in our season opener,” says Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “We had a few mental mistakes on beam, but we can fix those. We finished with a good hit percentage tonight, and we can take this momentum with us on the road throughout January.”
The Mountaineers took the lead out of the gate, scoring 48.575 on bars to the Panthers’ 48.15 vault mark.
Freshman Jaida Lawrence
and junior Erica Smith
anchored the lineup with identical 9.775 scores and finished in a four-way tie for second place. Sloanhoffer finished behind the duo with a 9.725 mark. Pitt’s Bri Hogan won bars with a 9.8 score.
WVU maintained its advantage in the second rotation, tallying 48.925 on vault and pushing its team total to 97.5. The Panthers earned a meet-best 48.75 on bars and owned a 96.9 total after two events.
Three gymnasts scored 9.8 or better for WVU on vault, with Sloanhoffer and senior Alaska Richardson
earning the event win with 9.825 scores. Senior Chelsea Goldschrafe
tied with Pitt’s Lisa Soto for third place with a 9.8.
The Mountaineers pulled away in the third rotation, scoring 49.025 on floor and pushing their team score to 146.525. WVU’s event total matched its fourth-best score from the 2012 season. Pitt earned 47.675 and sat at 144.575.
Richardson debuted a new routine and highlighted an energetic lineup, matching her career best with a 9.9 score and finishing in a three-way tie for first place. Kaylyn Millick
preceded her classmate in the lineup and finished fourth overall with a 9.825 mark, while Sloanhoffer and freshman Melissa Idell
opened the lineup with 9.775 scores, good enough for a fifth-place tie. Lawrence anchored the lineup with a 9.75 showing.
WVU finished the meet with a 48.15 showing on beam, while Pitt scored 48.975 on floor.
Millick paced the Mountaineers and won the event with a 9.775 score. Goldschrafe and sophomore Lia Salzano
tied for fourth overall with 9.65s, the meet’s third-best mark, while Smith opened the lineup and placed sixth with a 9.625.
In their first all-around showings of the season, Sloanhoffer finished second (38.475) and Millick placed third (38.325).
Of note, the first national rankings of the 2013 season were released late today, and the WVU dropped out as it did not compete last weekend.
The Mountaineers continue their season-opening road trip at Utah, with No. 12 Southern Utah and 20 Oregon State, on Saturday, Jan. 19, at 9 p.m. ET, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.