Gymnastics Fall Classic Rundown

By Shannon McNamara for
November 18, 2013 07:23 PM
Freshman Rachel Sine should provide needed depth to the Mountaineers' bars lineup this season.
All-Pro Photograph/Dale Sparks Photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Pilgrim team defeated the Turkey team, 28-23, this afternoon at the West Virginia University gymnastics team’s annual Fall Classic, inside Cary Gym.
The Mountaineers were evenly divided into two teams and competed their routines in front of judges and in competition uniforms for this first time this season. More than 50 fans were on hand to watch the WVU squad in its first official intrasquad of the year.
“With Thanksgiving break just around the corner, we really needed a solid showing today, and I’m very happy with what I saw,” said third-year coach Jason Butts. “We still need to add depth to each event, and there is still a lot of work left to do before the season begins, but overall I’m happy with where we are at.”
A hit routine was scored when the gymnast stayed on the apparatus and earned a full 10.0 start value; gymnasts were awarded one point for each hit routine.
“I honestly believe this was the most ready this team has ever been at this point of the year,” explained Butts. “If our Gold-Blue meet was tomorrow, we could compete in the Coliseum with the routines we put forth today.
“I told everyone at the end of the meet – this is a team that can win the Big 12 Gymnastics Championship and qualify for the NCAA National Championships. We just cannot get comfortable – we have to bring this type of intensity to Cary Gym every day.”
Butts put aside the two-team format when judging the success of each event.
“Every one of our vaults was phenomenal,” he said. “The gymnasts are already landing on the hard surface and could compete tomorrow.”
Junior Lia Salzano, sophomore Jaida Lawrence and freshmen Alexa Goldberg and Nicolette Swoboda all earned near sticks on yurchenko fulls.
The uneven bars rotation was highlighted by standout routines from senior Amanda Carpenter, freshman Rachel Sine, Lawrence and Goldberg.
“Every bars routine hit today, which is a huge plus for us,” said Butts. “Rachel’s routine was gorgeous. Our handstands and dismounts look great, and everyone made it look easy today. I’m really happy with the consistency from this lineup.”
A new balance beam mount for junior Beth Deal capped off a solid showing for the team on the apparatus. Butts also was pleased with routines from seniors Hope Sloanhoffer and Erica Smith, as well as Goldberg and Swoboda.
“Everyone was aggressive on beam today, and I really like that,” he expanded. “Even when we had wobbles and mistakes, we were able to cover them and not look intimidated. Everyone competed with confidence, and that’s where we want to be at this point.”
Sloanhoffer shone on floor, debuting a new routine which highlights features from previous routines. Additional standouts on floor were junior Dayah Haley, freshman Mackenzie Myers, Carpenter, Goldberg and Lawrence.
“We’re almost 100 percent with our floor routines,” said Butts. “We’ve never been at this point this early in the year. It’s coming together right now, and I think this was our best floor rotation at a fall classic. I was really happy with everyone’s showmanship, too.”
The Mountaineers will make their WVU Coliseum debut with their Gold-Blue intrasquad meet on Sunday, Dec. 8, at 3 p.m. Celebrity judges will award scores at this fun, interactive meet, and all are encouraged to attend. Admission is free.

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