MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University gymnast Alaska Richardson
was named the Big 12 Conference Event Specialist of the Week today.
“Alaska really turned in some great performances this weekend, and I’m glad the conference honored her efforts,” says coach Jason Butts. “She has a great, fun floor routine, and her vault is very powerful; she’s a fun athlete to watch. Her efforts and results are reflective of all the hard work this team is putting in at Cary Gym. It also mirrors this upward trend that we’re enjoying right now. This team is all about climbing higher each week.”
The honor is the second of the season for the senior, as she earned the same award on Jan. 15. The No. 25-ranked Mountaineers (6-5, 1-1 Big 12) have earned a total of three Big 12 honors this season.
Oklahoma’s Brie Olson was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, while teammate Haley Scaman scored Big 12 Newcomer of the Week honors.
A Dayton, Ohio, native, Richardson had a career day at then-No. 18 Maryland on Feb. 17. She won vault with a career-best 9.925 score and also finished a team-best fifth on floor with a 9.85 mark; her floor score was the third-best point total awarded.
Richardson is the first WVU gymnast to score 9.925 on vault since junior Hope Sloanhoffer
earned the point total in her first collegiate meet at the 2011 Cancun Classic. The point total is her first 9.9+ score on vault this season.
Through six meets, Richardson averages 9.846 on vault and ranks No. 46 nationally. The average is good enough for the No. 14 ranking in the southeast region and the No. 4 spot in the Big 12. She also ranks No. 9 (9.829) in the southeast region, No. 6 in the Big 12, on floor.
Richardson’s vault mark helped the Mountaineers tally a season-best 49.225 score on Sunday. WVU finished second overall with a season-best road mark of 195.775. The team’s point total was its best in a regular-season road meet since scoring 197.4 at Pitt in 2004. The Terps scored 196.175 and finished first. Both teams defeated Rutgers (195.05).
The Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum for the first-ever “Wendy M. Roach Invitational,” on Sunday, Feb. 24, against No. 3 Michigan, New Hampshire and Towson at 2 p.m. The invitational, named after former WVU gymnast and current student assistant Nicole Roach’s mother, is a “Pink Meet” to promote breast cancer awareness. All fans are encouraged to wear pink.