Mountaineers Finish Fifth at Regional

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • April 07, 2013 12:18 AM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University gymnastics team concluded its 2013 season with a fifth-place showing at the NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships, tonight, inside the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers (13-9, 1-3), the region’s fifth seed, scored 194.475 in their season finale. WVU tallied 49.025 on vault, 48.475 on bars, 48.45 on beam and 48.525 on floor.

“Despite the setbacks, I thought we did really well tonight,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts says. “The team fought, and that’s what we stress within this program. We could have counted some falls, but we didn’t. This team fought until the end, and I’m very proud of that.

“The crowd was great tonight. This team thrived off its energy, and I’m thankful for the Mountaineer faithful that were in attendance.”

Top-seed Michigan, ranked fifth nationally, scored 196.725 and finished first overall. Illinois, the region’s No. 2 seed and ranked No. 17 nationally, finished second with a 196.025 score. The Wolverines and the Illini have earned the right to advance to the 2013 NCAA Championships.

No. 8-ranked Nebraska, the region’s second seed, scored 195.875 and finished third, while Kentucky, the No. 4 seed and ranked No. 19 nationally, tallied 195.575 and placed fourth. Sixth-seed North Carolina scored 194.35 and finished sixth.

Illinois’ Alina Weinstein scored 39.55 and finished first overall.

WVU senior Kaylyn Millick tied for ninth overall with a 39.0 score. Junior Hope Sloanhoffer tallied 38.9 and finished 12th.

The Mountaineers opened the meet on bars and redeemed themselves after a shaky rotation at the Big 12 Championship on March 23 with a 48.475 score. Millick shone brightest for the team, earning 9.825, her best mark since tallying a 9.9 at Maryland on Feb. 17, and finishing 11th overall with the meet’s fourth-best score. Sophomore Dayah Haley returned to the lineup’s leadoff position following a two-week hiatus and finished second on the team with a 9.7. Junior Erica Smith tallied 9.675, senior Chelsea Goldschrafe earned 9.65 and Sloanhoffer went 9.625.

Despite a slow start on balance beam, WVU recovered late in the second rotation, as the last three gymnasts scored 9.75 or better and the team tallied 48.45. Sophomore Beth Deal anchored the lineup with a 9.825, her top score since earning a season-best 9.875 at the Coliseum on Feb. 24, and finished tied for fifth. Millick finished second on the team, 10th overall, with a 9.8, and Sloanhoffer scored 9.75.

Following a bye in the third rotation, the Mountaineers hit five-for-six on floor for a 48.525 total. Senior Alaska Richardson put on a show for the home crowd and earned a team-best 9.875, good-enough for a second-place tie. Goldschrafe scored 9.775, her best score since March 10, and finished 13th, and Sloanhoffer scored 9.725.

The Mountaineers had their top showing on vault and earned their only 49.0+ mark of the evening with a 49.025 score. Richardson and freshman Jaida Lawrence tied for 12th place with 9.825s, the meet’s sixth-best score, while Sloanhoffer and Goldschrafe scored 9.8, a season best for a Goldschrafe, and finished in 15th place. Millick scored 9.775, and Haley opened the rotation with a 9.75.

WVU finished the meet on a bye in the sixth rotation.

Tonight’s meet was the final collegiate competition for Goldschrafe, Millick and Richardson.

“Those girls went out doing the best gymnastics of their careers tonight, and I’m really proud of them,” says Butts. “I think they all can be so proud of how they ended their careers. They’ve led by example all season, and I’m happy for them to have had a good night.”

Advancing to the 2013 NCAA National Championships (April 19-21, Los Angeles)

1. Michigan – 196.725
2. Illinois – 196.025

Individual All-Around (not on a qualifying team)
1. Emily Wong, Nebraska – 39.225
2. Jessie Deziel, Nebraska – 39.2

Individual Event Winners (not on a qualifying team)

1. Brittany Skinner, Nebraska – 9.95

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