MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University freshman Jaida Lawrence
was named the Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Week today.
The Rocky Hill, Conn., native closed the 2013 regular season just as she opened it, winning the conference’s top rookie honor. This is her second career award - she earned her first on Jan. 15 - and the sixth weekly honor for a Mountaineer gymnast this season.
Lawrence is coming off her sixth vault victory of the season, as she matched her career high with a 9.9 score and tied for the win against Maryland and Rutgers on March 15. She is riding a three-week win streak and has hit for a career best four times this season.
Ranked No. 34 nationally, and No. 3 in the Big 12, with a 9.89 regional qualifying score (RQS), Lawrence has not scored below 9.85 on the apparatus since Jan. 15. She has scored 9.875 or better in each meet since Jan. 25.
In addition to her vault win, Lawrence opened the Mountaineers’ bars lineup for the first time in her career and scored 9.725, her best mark since Feb. 24, and finished tied for seventh place.
Oklahoma’s Taylor Spears was named Big 12 Gymnast of the Week for a record-tying sixth time, while Sooner Lauren Alexander won Big 12 Event Specialist of the Week honors.
The No. 25-ranked Mountaineers (13-7, 1-1 Big 12) tallied 196.05 in wins over Maryland (194.8) and Rutgers (194.175) on March 15. Senior Alaska Richardson
tied Lawrence for the vault victory and also tied for the floor win with a 9.9. Junior Hope Sloanhoffer
finished first overall for the second time this season with a 39.25 score; she also earned a season-best 9.875 on beam and tied for the win. Junior Erica Smith
paced the Mountaineers on bars with a third place, 9.775 showing.
WVU opens the postseason at its first Big 12 Conference Championship this Saturday, March 23, at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum, in Ames, Iowa. The meet, set for a 3 p.m. EST start, will be televised by FOX Sports Net on a date to be determined.