AMES, IOWA – Despite a season-best road score, the West Virginia University gymnastics team fell, 196.025-194.175, tonight, to Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum.
Though the Mountaineers (4-4, 0-1 Big 12) dropped their first Big 12 Conference regular-season road meet, WVU had strong individual showings, as the team earned the vault and beam wins.
“We started the night out great on bars, with our handstands and landings much improved,” says third-year Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “Vault is a weak lineup spot for us right now, and we need two find two more vaults to complement the four great ones we have. Overall, I was happy with floor – the scores weren’t there, but we overcame some stumbles for a solid showing. We just aren’t competing aggressive on beam right now, and we need to figure that out.
“Overall, I’m glad we held on for a season-high road score. We have six meets to improve before the postseason. We need to dig deep and find those lineup spots that are still missing.”
Senior Hope Sloanhoffer
, the two-time reigning Big 12 Gymnast of the Week, won her fourth straight all-around crown with a 39.325 showing. The Cornwall, N.Y., native set or matched season highs on bars and beam and earned two top-three finishes.
The Cyclones’ (2-4, 1-1 Big 12) Caitlin Brown tallied 39.275 and finished second, while WVU freshman Nicolette Swoboda
, the reigning Big 12 Newcomer of the Week, scored 38.875 and finished third.
The Mountaineers jumped out to the early lead thanks to a strong 48.9 showing on the uneven bars. The team’s total was 0.05 points short of its season high, set at Kentucky on Jan. 10. ISU opened the meet with a 48.75 showing on vault.
WVU’s last three competitors on bars scored 9.8 or better, with Sloanhoffer and freshman Alexa Goldberg
, ranked No. 26 nationally, finishing second with 9.85s. The mark matches Sloanhoffer’s season high. Senior Erica Smith
preceded the duo in the lineup and tallied 9.8, good enough for fifth place. Sophomore Lindsey Litten
returned to the lineup after a one-week break and finished sixth with a career-best 9.75,
The Cyclones wrestled the lead back in the second rotation, scoring 49.025 on bars and pushing their two-event total to 97.775. WVU earned 48.3 on vault for a 97.2 total.
The Mountaineers swept the vault podium positions, with sophomore Jaida Lawrence
matching her season-best score of 9.875 and finishing first overall. Sloanhoffer scored 9.85, her fourth straight mark of 9.8 or better on the event, and placed second, while Swoboda tallied 9.825, her best vault road score, and finished third.
ISU increased its lead in the third rotation, scoring 49.125 on beam for a 146.9 point total. The Mountaineers went 48.575 on floor and pushed their three-event score to 145.775.
Sloanhoffer kept her momentum going on floor, scoring a team-best 9.8 and finishing fourth. Junior Dayah Haley
followed with a 9.725 score and finished seventh, while Swoboda and sophomore Melissa Idell
opened the rotation with 9.7 scores.
WVU overcame two falls on beam to close the meet with a 48.8 score. ISU tallied 49.125 on floor in the final rotation.
Junior Beth Deal
closed the lineup and matched her season-best score of 9.85 for a share of the beam victory. Sloanhoffer and senior Amanda Carpenter
each scored 9.825 and placed fourth; the score matched the gymnasts’ season- and career-best scores, respectively.
Additionally, Swoboda followed a fall in the lineup’s opening position with a career-best 9.75 score.
With the loss, WVU falls to 2-3 all-time against the Cyclones.
The Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum on Friday, Feb. 14, and play host to Pitt at 6 p.m. Friday is WVU’s annual “Beauty & the Beast” meet, and the Mountaineer wrestling team will compete against Clarion simultaneously. All tickets are $1, courtesy of United Bank.