MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2014 gymnastics schedule.
The Mountaineers’ slate features six meets at home, including the 2014 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship in March. Additionally, WVU will face four 2013 NCAA Championships competitors, including three Super Six teams, on the road.
“Coach Jason Butts is not shying away from tests this season,” says Luck. “The Mountaineers will most definitely be challenged this year, and I’m excited to see them rise to the occasion and compete against the best of the best.
“I’m also excited to welcome the 2014 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship to Morgantown on March 22. This will be the first Big 12 championship on campus, and it promises to be a great experience for all Mountaineer fans.”
“This is our toughest schedule since I’ve been associated with the program,” says Butts. “This slate has been a long time in the making. It’s a great challenge for the team, but going against this type of competition will only help our road scores.
“I maintain that you’re only as good as your competition, and we’re really going to see where this program stands this year. I think it’s great that we will meet a lot of teams that garner national exposure, and I think that motivates our team to do the best it can against top squads. I fully expect the Mountaineers to rise up to the level of these teams.”
The Mountaineers will open on the road for the second straight season, as WVU will face Kentucky, its first of three opponents from the Southeastern Conference (SEC), Penn State and Ball State in Lexington, Ky., on Jan. 10.
Following a dual meet at Maryland on Jan. 17, the Mountaineers will open their home season at the WVU Coliseum against former East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) foe NC State on Saturday, Jan. 25.
February will feature exciting home events and challenging road meets for the Mountaineers. WVU will welcome Rutgers, George Washington and Towson for the second annual “Wendy M. Roach Invitational” on Sunday, Feb. 2, before traveling to Ames, Iowa, on Feb. 7, for a dual meet against Iowa State.
The Mountaineers will return to the Coliseum on Feb. 14 for a dual meet against Pitt. The Friday night competition will coincide with the popular “Beauty and the Beast” promotion, and the WVU wrestling team will simultaneously compete against Clarion.
“The ‘Beauty and the Beast’ meet is always an exciting night for Mountaineer fans,” says Butts. “This year’s meet promises to be even more electric, as the Panthers will make their first trip to Morgantown since 2011.”
WVU will face three top-seven teams in its final February meet, as the squad will travel to Oklahoma City for The Perfect 10 Challenge on Friday, Feb. 21, at the Cox Arena. The Mountaineers will face Oklahoma, the 2013 national runner-up, Alabama and Michigan. The Crimson Tide won the NCAA title in 2011 and 2012 and finished third at last year’s championships, while Michigan just missed the 2013 Super Six and placed seventh overall.
“The Perfect 10 Challenge is on podium, and I think that’s a huge plus for the meet,” explains Butts. “That’s what fans are used to seeing when they watch gymnastics in the Olympics and at the national championships. We want to be at the 2014 NCAA Championships, so this meet is a great chance for us to experience that type of setting and environment. We’re going to be very challenged that weekend, but it’s going to be an exciting challenge.”
WVU’s March home slate includes meets against Ohio State on March 2 and North Carolina on March 15. The Mountaineers will close out their regular season road schedule at Florida, the reigning NCAA champions, on March 7.
The Mountaineers will play host to the 2014 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, March 22, at the WVU Coliseum. OU, the two-time defending conference champions, and ISU will make the trip to Morgantown.
The NCAA Regional Championships will be held on Saturday, April 5, at six different locations: Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), Georgia (Athens, Ga.), Arkansas (Fayetteville, Ark.), LSU (Baton Rouge, La.), Penn State (State College, Pa.) and Washington (Seattle, Wash.).
The 2014 NCAA Championships will take place April 18-20, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC), in Birmingham, Ala.
WVU returns nine letterwinners from a 2013 team that finished its first Big 12 Conference season at 13-9, including a 1-3 record in league competition. Tops among the returners are four seniors: Amanda Carpenter
, Hope Sloanhoffer
, Erica Smith
and Bethany Yurko
The 2013 Mountaineers scored 196.0 or better in every home meet, the first WVU gymnastics team to achieve the feat. The five 196.0+ scores were one short of the school record. WVU finished third at its first Big 12 Gymnastics Championship and fifth at the 2013 NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships.
The complete schedule can be found HERE