SALT LAKE CITY – Struggles on the uneven bars and beam befuddled the No. 22-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team tonight, as the squad scored 192.125 and finished third at the Utah quad meet in front of 14, 917 fans at the Huntsman Center.
The No. 15 Utes (3-1) tallied 196.95 and finished first. No. 23 Oregon State (2-3) scored 195.95 and took second place, while No. 20 Southern Utah (0-4) finished fourth with a 191.05 mark.
The Mountaineers (2-2) had their best showing on vault in the second rotation, as they scored 49.05, the second-best score of the night. WVU also scored 48.525 on floor, 47.4 on bars and 47.15 on beam.
“I felt like we started the meet with confidence, and I am really happy with our floor and vault performances,” says second-year coach Jason Butts. “Unfortunately, we let little falls on bars rattle us, and from there it was just a snowball effect. I told the team after the meet that this was a character-defining experience, but we can’t let this define our season. We need to get back into Cary Gym this week and fix these mistakes before we travel to NC State.
“Fortunately, we ended the meet with two hit routines on beam, and I’m really proud of Lia (Salzano) and Hope (Sloanhoffer) for hitting their sets. They made sure we finished the night with a positive.”
WVU opened the meet on floor and hit six-for-six for a 48.525 score, good enough for second place.
Senior Alaska Richardson
, ranked No. 9 nationally, paced the team on floor for the second straight meet, scoring 9.775 and finishing 10th overall. Senior Kaylyn Millick
finished second on the team with a 9.75 mark, while Chelsea Goldschrafe
preceded her teammates and scored a season-best 9.725.
Four season-high scores helped the Mountaineers power to a 49.05 vault score in the second rotation, pushing their team total to 97.575, good enough for a second-place tie with OSU.
Richardson and freshman Jaida Lawrence
anchored the lineup with solid 9.85 scores, both season-high marks, and finished tied for fourth place. Millick and Sloanhoffer each earned 9.8 marks; the score is a season high for Millick. Sophomore Dayah Haley
opened the lineup with a season-best 9.75.
A shaky bars rotation pushed WVU down to third place after three events, as the squad scored 47.4 for a running score of 144.975.
Sloanhoffer paced the Mountaineers and finished 10th overall, as she matched her season high with a 9.725 score. Millick and Smith followed in the lineup with 9.675 marks; the total is a season best for Millick.
The Mountaineers closed the meet with a 47.15 showing on beam.
Salzano, the third-to-last gymnast to compete tonight, anchored the Mountaineers’ lineup with a solid routine, scoring a season-high 9.8 and finishing in ninth place. After the first four gymnasts fell, Sloanhoffer steadied the Mountaineers with a 9.65.
Sloanhoffer finished with a 38.8 all-around score, while Millick tallied 38.4. Utah’s Georgia Dabritz won the meet with a 39.525 showing.
The Mountaineers stay on the road and travel to former East Atlantic Gymnastics League rival No. 19 NC State this Friday, Jan. 25, for a 7 p.m. EST meet at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C.