Field Set for Morgantown Regional

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • March 25, 2013 04:47 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The 2013 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships regional selections were announced today, and West Virginia University will compete as the No. 5 seed at the Morgantown Regional, inside the WVU Coliseum, on Saturday, April 6, at 6 p.m.

The Mountaineers’ (13-9, 1-3) bid is their 35th regional championship berth and their 30th in NCAA competition. Since the NCAA began sponsoring gymnastics in 1983, the Mountaineers have advanced to the national championships three times (1995, 1999, 2000).

WVU last played host to a regional championship in 2010, with 2,144 fans, the program’s eighth-best attendance mark, on hand to watch the Mountaineers finish fourth. The largest crowd to attend a regional in Morgantown was 3,492 in 1994, which also is the largest gymnastics crowd in Coliseum history.

The Morgantown Regional will have a Big Ten flair, as the top-three seeded teams all hail from the conference. No. 5-ranked Michigan earned the region’s No. 1 seed, while No. 8 Nebraska, the 2013 conference champion, earned the No. 2 bid. Illinois, ranked No. 17, is seeded third. Kentucky, nationally ranked No. 19, is the No. 4 seed, and North Carolina, a former WVU foe in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL), is seeded sixth.

“I’m really excited for this regional,” says Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “We’ve only seen Michigan this season, but we hung right there with them and earned our season-best score of 196.55. I think that bodes really well for us. We definitely have a competitive regional field, and I think everyone is going to have to bring their best gymnastics that day. Having said that, I’m really excited – I couldn’t have asked for a better region.”

The Mountaineers are 0-1 against the field this season, having lost, 196.925-196.55, to the then-No. 3 Wolverines on Feb. 24 at the Coliseum. Michigan advanced to the NCAA Championships with a second-place finish at the WVU Coliseum at the 2010 Morgantown Regional.

WVU will open the meet on the uneven bars. The Mountaineers’ rotation order is: bars, beam, bye, floor, vault, bye.

“This is the exact rotation order we wanted,” continues Butts. “We will end this meet on our three strongest events, and I think that will help us gain momentum as we rotate around the gym. Now, we need to work hard in Cary Gym over the next 10 days and get this team ready to open the championships on bars.”

Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event [who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4] were named to each of the six predetermined host sites.

The top-18 teams are seeded nationally, based on RQS. Teams 19-36 are organized into three pods (19-24, 25-30 and 31-36) and placed geographically at one of the six sites, beginning with teams 19-24 followed by teams 25-30 and then finally teams 31-36. All-around competitors and event specialists are assigned to their respective geographic region or the designated site for their region (North Central – Columbus Regional; Northeast – Morgantown Regional).

The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Los Angeles, April 19-21, at the University of California, Los Angeles. Additionally, the event winners at each regional site will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.

Tickets for the Morgantown Regional 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.

Morgantown Regional (West Virginia University, host) – 6 p.m.
1. Michigan
2. Nebraska
3. Illinois
4. Kentucky
5. West Virginia
6. North Carolina

All-Around Competitors
1. Austyn Fobes, New Hampshire
2. Luisa Leal, Rutgers
3. Kirsten Strausbaugh, Pennsylvania
4. Alexis Gunzelman, Rutgers
5. Kayla Gray, New Hampshire

Individual Event Specialists
Vault – Hannah Barile, New Hampshire
Uneven Bars – Jenna Williams, Rutgers
Balance Beam – Claudia Salinas, Rutgers
Floor Exercise – Hannah Barile, New Hampshire

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