– West Virginia University senior gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer
will compete in the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships, April 18-20, at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.
Sloanhoffer, an individual all-around qualifier, is paired with No. 15-ranked Penn State and will compete alongside the Nittany Lions in Friday’s second semifinal session, set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.
Similar to her rotation order at the NCAA Athens Regional Championships on April 5, Sloanhoffer, the nation’s No. 28-ranked all-around gymnast, will open the meet on a bye. Her complete rotation order is: Bye, Floor Exercise, Vault, Bye, Uneven Bars, Balance Beam. The Athens Regional beam co-champion, Sloanhoffer will be the final gymnast to compete on the apparatus Friday.
“When you work hard for four years and give 150 percent to a program, you deserve the reward of competing on the nation’s biggest stage,” says Mountaineer coach Jason Butts. “I want Hope’s last experience as a Mountaineer to be an amazing, fun moment.
“Hope qualifying for the National Championships is a big step for this program. She has a great draw and a fantastic rotation order, and I like her chances Friday night. She has the advantage of going last on each event, and that will help, especially on beam. Hope competes a very graceful, difficult routine – it has more bonus than she needs. If she puts together a rock-solid performance, I think we could crown the next Mountaineer All-American.”
“I’m very excited for this opportunity,” says Sloanhoffer. “I’m glad I had the opportunity to compete as an individual at the regional championships, as I feel really comfortable heading into this weekend’s competition. It’s disappointing I won’t have any of my teammates on the floor with me, but I know they’re all going to be supporting me back at home.
“Most importantly, I am looking to finish my career with a great meet. I don’t want to overthink anything. I’m hoping to go out and compete the gymnastics I’ve competed all year, and I hope everything turns out well.”
The 2014 NCAA all-around champion will be crowned following Friday’s semifinals. The top-four individuals in each event (plus ties) from Friday’s semifinals will compete in the individual-event competition on Sunday, April 20, at 3 p.m. ET.
A native of Cornwall, N.Y., Sloanhoffer is the 18th gymnast in program history to individually qualify and the first since Mehgan Morris qualified in the all-around for the 2009 NCAA National Championships.
Twelve teams and 12 all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) will compete in two semifinal sessions. Friday’s second semifinal session features 18 gymnasts ranked in the top 50 nationally in the all-around, including No. 1 Bridget Sloan (Florida), No. 3 Katherine Grable (Arkansas), No. 4 Emily Wong (Nebraska), No. 7 Kytra Hunter (Florida) and No. 8 Alaina Johnson (Florida). Sloanhoffer is the third-highest ranked unattached gymnast competing in the second semifinal.
The 2014 Big 12 Conference all-around champion, Sloanhoffer earned the right to advance to the national championships following her second-place finish (39.175) at the Athens Regional. In addition to her winning, 9.85 beam score, Sloanhoffer also tallied 9.8 on floor, 9.775 on bars and 9.75 on vault.
Sloanhoffer paced the Mountaineers in 2014 with 35 podium finishes, including 21 event wins. She has scored 468.825 points in 12 meets as an all-arounder, and she owns 1,837.8 career points, the eighth-best total in program history.
All-America honors for the all-around will be awarded late Friday night. Additionally, the draw for the individual event finals also will be released late Friday.
The top-three teams from each semifinal session will advance to the Super Six competition on Saturday, April 19.