No. 25 WVU Gymnastics Finishes Third

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • March 23, 2013 06:22 PM
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AMES, Iowa – The No. 25-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team scored 194.675 and finished third today at the Big 12 Gymnastics Championship at Iowa State’s Hilton Coliseum.

No. 2 Oklahoma (21-1, 4-0) defended its title and won its second straight championship with a 197.2 score. The host Cyclones (5-12, 1-3) finished second with a 196.175 score.

WVU (13-9, 1-3) finished second on vault (49.1) and beam (48.975), and third on floor (48.725) and bars (47.875).

“I felt as if we had three great rotations today, and we were so close to a solid 195.0 score,” says second-year coach Jason Butts. “We opened up great on floor, and the team carried that momentum to vault. We had some mistakes on bars, but fortunately, we still put together four great routines.

“For our first Big 12 Championship, I’m most proud of the fight this team showed. They fought hard, and they redeemed themselves on beam in the fourth rotation. Today is a lesson learned. Now, we get ready for the NCAA Regional Championships. We’ll head back to Morgantown, fix our mistakes and get ready for a great showing in the WVU Coliseum.”

Senior Kaylyn Millick, ranked No. 39 nationally, scored 39.2 and finished second overall. Following the meet, the Washington, Pa., native was named to the All-Big 12 Championship Team.

“It was great to have representation on the podium today,” says Butts. “Kaylyn is doing her best gymnastics as a senior, and she showed that again today. Her performance was part of the reason the team stayed inspired throughout the meet, and I was glad to see her rewarded for her strong day.”

Junior Hope Sloanhoffer, nationally ranked No. 38, scored 39.075 and finished fourth.

The Mountaineers opened the meet on floor and tallied 48.725. Senior Alaska Richardson, ranked No. 6 in the conference, paced the team and finished sixth overall with a 9.85. Milllick preceded her in the lineup with a 9.775, while senior Chelsea Goldschrafe earned 9.75.

WVU gained momentum in the second rotation, scoring 49.1 on vault, its second-best road score of the season, and pushing its point total to 97.825. Millick, Richardson and freshman Jaida Lawrence, an All-Big 12 gymnast on vault, tied for fourth with 9.85s. Sloanhoffer earned a 9.8, and Goldschrafe tallied 9.75.

The Mountaineers suffered a rough rotation on bars, as the team was forced to count a fall and only scored 47.875, bringing its running team total to 145.7. Sloanhoffer paced the team with a 9.775, good enough for 10th place. Millick tallied 9.75, and Goldschrafe scored 9.725. In just her second career routine, junior Amanda Carpenter anchored the rotation with a 9.675.

WVU regained its steadiness in the fourth rotation, as the team hit a solid six-for-six on beam and scored 48.975. Millick paced the Mountaineers and finished eighth with a 9.825, the meet’s fourth-best mark and her best score since earning 9.85 on March 3. Three Mountaineers – Sloanhoffer, junior Erica Smith and sophomore Beth Deal – scored 9.8 and finished tied for ninth. Sophomore Lia Salzano tallied 9.75, and Carpenter earned 9.7.

With today’s loss, WVU drops to 1-7 against OU. The series with ISU is tied at 2-2.

OU swept the individual wins. Taylor Spears scored 39.6 for the all-around victory. She also finished first on bars (9.95) and beam (9.9). Teammates Brie Olson and Rebecca Clark also finished first on bars and beam, respectively. Sooner Maile’ana Kanewa won vault (9.925), while teammate Haley Scaman (9.95) finished first on floor.

Following the meet, Spears was named the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, and Scaman was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Sooner Lauren Alexander earned Big 12 Event Specialist of the Year, and coach K.J. Kindler was tabbed the Big 12 Coach of the Year. ISU’s Elizabeth Stranahan was named the Big 12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

Today’s meet will air on FOX Sports Network at a date to be determined.

The NCAA will announce regional championships bids this Monday with a selection show at 3 p.m. at NCAA.com. The Mountaineers have qualified for 34 regional championships.

WVU will play host to the NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships on Saturday, April 6, at 6 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum. Tickets are $12 each when purchased in advance online at WVUGAME.com or by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office at 1-800-WVU-GAME. Groups of 10 or more can receive a special group rate of $9 per person at WVUGAME.com or by calling 1-800-WVU-GAME. Group tickets must be purchased in advance. Tickets will be available at the door for $15 each on the meet day.

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