Gymnastics Prepped for Pink Meet


By Shannon McNamara for WVUsports.com
February 01, 2014 02:50 PM
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Junior Beth Deal scored a season-best 9.85 on beam last week and finished first overall.
Photo by Cordell Hoffer
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.  – The West Virginia University gymnastics team continues its two-week homestand this Sunday, Feb. 2, against George Washington and Towson, at 3 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum, in the second annual “Wendy M. Roach Invitational” Pink Meet.
 
Coliseum gates will open at 2 p.m., and fans can purchase tickets at the door, with all tickets for adults available for $5, while just $3 for youth and seniors. Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2 each. A free WVU shuttle bus will be available from the Mountainlair and the Brooke/Braxton Towers loop for an hour leading up to the meet’s start time. Return service to the Mountainlair and the Brooke/Braxton Towers loop also will be available at the conclusion of the meet.
 
Fans are encouraged to bring sundry items, such as scarves, nail polish, books, lotion and socks for donation to Morgantown’s Betty Puskar Breast Care Center and to wear pink in support of breast cancer awareness. No monetary donations will be accepted. 
 
The invitational is in memory of Wendy Roach, the mother of former WVU gymnast and current graduate assistant Nicole Roach.
 
“This team always steps up for our pink meet, and I’m hoping the gymnasts will do that again this year,” says Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “It’s a huge honor to be able to honor Wendy in name again this season. I think the team wants to make sure it puts on the best show possible for the crowd. For these gymnasts, this Sunday is all about honoring Wendy and Nicole.
 
“We’re also very happy to accept donations for the breast care center again this year. We had a great response from our fans last year, and we’re hoping to duplicate that this year.”
 
The Mountaineers (2-3) meet two familiar foes in the Colonials (5-1, 0-1 EAGL) and the Tigers (3-4, 0-3 EAGL) Sunday. Former counterparts in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL), WVU and GW met in back-to-back meets in 2013, with the Mountaineers earning two wins. WVU defeated GW, 196.375-195.3, at the WVU Coliseum on March 3, and earned a 195.45-194.5 victory in Washington, D.C., on March 10. The Mountaineers own a 45-1 series advantage and have scored at least two wins over the Colonials each season since 2010.
 
Sunday is the third time in as many seasons that WVU and Towson will meet on the floor. The Mountaineers trumped the Tigers, 196.55-193.15, at the first “Wendy M. Roach Invitational” on Feb. 24, 2013. WVU also earned a 195.775-190.875 victory at the WVU Coliseum on Jan. 29, 2012.
 
The Mountaineers opened their home season strong, defeating NC State, 195.425-195.4, at the Coliseum on Jan. 26. WVU used three event season-best scores to push it to its best team total of the year.
 
“I want to at least repeat that performance this weekend,” says Butts. “We had a lot of little execution errors last Sunday that kept us from that 196.0 score. We worked on those this week. Landings, bobbles – we were very close. We’ll shuffle up our bars lineup and see if we can fix the handstands that have been keeping us from that 49.0 score.
 
“It was nice, though, to see the big-picture gymnastics in place. We just need to clean up the small details.”
 
Senior Hope Sloanhoffer had a stellar meet, scoring a season-best 39.35 and finishing first overall. The Cornwall, N.Y., native also scored wins on floor (9.9), vault (9.85) and bars (9.825). Sloanhoffer’s all-around score was her top mark since earning a career-best 39.5 on March 24, 2012, while her floor total matched her career high. For her efforts, she earned her second career Big 12 Gymnast of the Week honor.
 
Sloanhoffer owns 1,485.4 career points and ranks No. 17 on the Mountaineers’ all-time career points chart. She needs 1.926 points to pass No. 16 Amanda Halovanic (2000-03, 1,487.325) and 35.21 points to pass No. 15 Andrea DeFelice (1987-90, 1,520.6).
 
The Mountaineers competed to form on floor last week, as three career-best scores pushed the squad to a season-high 48.975 total. In addition to Sloanhoffer’s winning 9.9 mark, freshman Alexa Goldberg tallied 9.825 and placed fourth, while junior Dayah Haley finished seventh with a 9.8 score.
 
GW enters the meet following a two-week break in action. The Colonials last finished third at Kent State on Jan. 17, scoring a season-best 193.4. The squad was strongest on floor, scoring 49.0. Freshman Chelsea Raineri tied for the vault win with a 9.9, the second-best score in program history. She also tied for second on floor (9.85) and third on bars (9.825). Following that performance, she was named the co-EAGL Rookie of the Week.
 
The Tigers are coming off a first-place finish in their 2014 home opener on Jan. 25. The squad scored a season-high 191.9 and defeated West Chester (188.975), Southern Connecticut (187.1) and Centenary College (186.375). Junior Lauren Ross finished first in the all-around (38.275) and second on floor (9.8).



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