Big 12 Honors Gymnastics Duo

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • March 05, 2013 03:55 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – On the heels of the No. 21-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team’s second-best performance of the season, the Big 12 Conference has honored a pair of Mountaineers today.

Junior Hope Sloanhoffer has been named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, while senior Alaska Richardson has been named the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week. Today’s honor is the first career Big 12 award for Sloanhoffer and the first Big 12 Gymnast of the Week acknowledgement for any Mountaineer. Richardson has now earned the Big 12 Specialist honor a conference-best three times this season.

Sloanhoffer, a Cornwall, N.Y., native, is coming off her first all-around win of the season, as she tallied 39.225 on March 3 against No. 13 Denver, George Washington and Temple. The mark, her second-best score of the season, gave her five 39.0+ point totals for 2013 and 15 for her career. Sloanhoffer, nationally ranked No. 31 in the all-around, also paced the team on beam and finished second overall with a season-high 9.875 mark. WVU won the event with a season-best 49.225 score, its best mark since scoring a school-record 49.55 on March 9, 2004. Additionally, she finished seventh on bars with a 9.775 and 10th on floor and vault with respective 9.8 and 9.775 scores.

Richardson, nationally ranked No. 39 on floor, secured two top-three finishes on Sunday, as she tied for the vault win with a 9.875 and tied for third place on floor with a 9.9. The Dayton, Ohio, native has now scored 9.9 or better on floor four times this season and has not scored below 9.8 on vault all year. WVU won vault with a 49.05 mark and placed second on floor with 49.275 points, its second-best score of the season.

Oklahoma’s Haley Scaman was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.

The Mountaineers (10-7, 1-1 Big 12) scored 196.375 in their second-place finish Sunday. DU won the meet with a 196.8 total, while GW finished third (195.3) and Temple placed fourth (191.625). WVU has now scored 196.0 or better in all four of its home meets; only in 2004 did the Mountaineers earn four or more 196.0+ marks in one season.

Several Mountaineers also notched top finishes that day, as freshman Jaida Lawrence tied for the vault win and senior Kaylyn Millick scored 9.925 and tied for the floor win. Additionally, junior Erica Smith paced the team on bars with a fifth place, 9.8 showing.

The Mountaineers close out their regular-season road schedule at GW on Sunday, March 10, with a 1 p.m. meet at the Charles E. Smith Center, in Washington, D.C.