MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 21-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team closes out its 2013 regular season at the WVU Coliseum, on March 15, at 7 p.m., against Maryland and Rutgers.
Friday’s meet is a “Dollar Night,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for purchase for just $1. Additionally, 500 free finger lights will be distributed to kids. Fans also can save $3 by purchasing tickets for the April 6 NCAA Morgantown Regional in advance at the gate Friday night. Following the competition, seniors Chelsea Goldschrafe, Kaylyn Millick and Alaska Richardson will be honored.
“Friday night is the perfect occasion for Mountaineer Nation to come out to the WVU Coliseum and enjoy a fun, family night cheering on the team,” says second-year coach Jason Butts. “I would love to see a huge crowd for our team, especially for our seniors. They’ve given so much to this program over the last four years, and I would love from them to conclude their regular season in style.”
The Mountaineers (11-7, 1-1 Big 12) are 7-3 at home this season and have not scored below 196.05 at the Coliseum. Only the 2004 WVU team scored more 196.0+ marks in one season, as that squad tallied five scores of 196.0 or better, four of which were earned at the Coliseum.
“We are where I want to be right now, but we need a couple of good scores to get to this team’s final goal, and that is a top-18 national ranking,” says Butts. “There’s a lot of things we can’t control as we chase that goal, but we can control our performance tomorrow night, and I expect another great show from this team at the Coliseum. Again, we need to climb higher. I want this team to give all it has this weekend and get on a good roll heading into the Big 12 Championships.”
Friday’s meet is a mirror image of the Mountaineers’ Feb. 17 road contest against the two squads, both former East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) foes, at the Comcast Center, in College Park, Md. WVU tallied a season-best road score of 195.775 and finished behind the Terrapins (196.175) and ahead of the Scarlet Knights (195.05).
The Mountaineers won vault (49.225) and beam (49.0) that day. Millick won the all-around competition with a 39.35 score, as she tallied 9.8 or better on all four events, including a first-place finish on bars with a career-best 9.9. Richardson set a career high on vault and won the event with a 9.925 score. She also finished a team-best fifth (9.85) on floor. Junior Amanda Carpenter tied for second on beam with a career-best 9.825.
Despite the February loss, WVU continues to lead the all-time series with UMD, 35-15-1. The Mountaineers are 54-0 against RU.
“We have to beat Maryland,” Butts enthuses. “They took us down earlier this season; we need to take them down this weekend.”
The Mountaineers have delivered some of their best gymnastics inside the Coliseum this season. WVU tallied a season-best 196.55 on Feb. 24. The team also totaled season highs on vault (49.25) and floor (49.325) that day. The Mountaineers scored a season-high 49.225 on beam on March 3, the squad’s best score since earning a program-record 49.55 in 2004, and hit for a season-best 49.2 on bars on Feb. 10.
Millick has hit three of the team’s top individual scores at home this season. The Washington, Pa., native tallied a career-best 39.4 in a third-place finish on Feb. 1. She also hit for a career-best 9.95 on floor on Feb. 24, and tallied a career-best 9.875 on beam on Feb. 1; junior Hope Sloanhoffer and sophomore Beth Deal also tallied the beam score on March 3 and Feb. 24, respectively.
Millick and Richardson’s respective bars and vault performances at the Comcast Center on Feb. 17 stand as the team’s top individual scores on each event this season.
The Mountaineers enter their regular-season finale after scoring 195.45 in a win at George Washington (194.5) on March 10. The team’s total was its second-best road score of the season. Millick tallied 39.225 and finished first overall; she also tied for the bars win (9.825) and finished second (9.9) on floor. Freshman Jaida Lawrence won vault (9.875), and Sloanhoffer took the beam victory (9.85).
Millick enters the meet nationally ranked No. 32 (39.14) in the all-around and No. 34 (9.875) on floor. Lawrence ranks No. 26 (9.885) on vault, while Sloanhoffer ranks No. 35 (39.115) in the all-around, and Richardson ranks No. 47 (9.865) on floor.
The Terrapins (12-4-1, 8-1-1 EAGL), unranked for the first time this season, scored 196.025 in a win over Central Michigan (195.575) and Yale (190.525) at the Comcast Center on March 10. UMD’s point total was its first 196.0+ mark since defeating the Mountaineers in February.
The Scarlet Knights (12-10, 2-3 EAGL) are coming off their best road performance of the season, as they tallied 195.55, their third 195.0+ mark in four weeks, and defeated Towson (194.6) at the Towson Center, on March 8. Junior Luisa Leal scored a program-best 39.5 for the all-around win.