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February 17, 2019 at 5:47 pm #83239
The fifth-best floor score in program history was not enough to give the West Virginia University gymnastics team its fifth sweep of the season, as the Mountaineers finished in second place today at the WVU Coliseum with a 195.575 total.
Utah State scored 196.075 and finished first overall, while Pitt placed third with a 195.1 total. Cornell finished fourth with a 193.075 score.
The Mountaineers (13-5, 0-3) tallied their second-best score of the season on the strength of a phenomenal 49.5 showing on floor exercise in the fourth rotation. All six competing gymnasts scored 9.825 or better, and all five counting scores were career-best marks of 9.85 or better. The team total ranks No. 5 in program history, and it is the Mountaineers’ best floor score since earning 49.575 on March 6, 2016.
Senior Kirah Koshinski anchored the rotation with a career-best 9.975, earning a 10.0 from one judge. The Berwick, Pennsylvania, native is the eighth WVU gymnast to earn the score on floor and the first since Kristen Macrie did so on Feb. 2, 2002.
“Floor was just awesome, and a big shout-out to Kirah,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “I wish she would have earned that other half-tenth but earning at least one 10 has been a collegiate career goal of hers. She almost earned the perfect 10, and I think it can still happen.”
In addition to their floor win, the Mountaineers also finished first on uneven bars with a season-high 49.175 score. WVU tallied 48.925 on vault and placed second and finished fourth on balance beam with a 47.975 score.
“I love the energy today; that was one of our big goals coming into the meet, and I feel they did a great job with it,” Butts said. “We’re still hopping vault landings too much. I thought bars was greatly improved, but we can still improve more, too. We had to count a fall on beam – it was a new lineup, but that’s not an excuse. We have to stay on; had we stayed on, we would have won today.”
The Mountaineers matched their second-highest vault score of the season with a 48.925 showing in the first rotation. Koshinski anchored the lineup and finished third overall with a 9.825. Junior Abby Kaufman and freshmen Rachel Hornung proceed Koshinski in the lineup and finished fifth with career-high 9.8 scores. Sophomore Michelle Waldron tied for ninth place with a 9.775 total, and senior Jaquie Tun added a 9.725.
Utah State’s Logan Varnadore won vault with a 9.875 total.
WVU’s first season-high team total of the day came on uneven bars in the second rotation, as three career-high marks and a winning, season-high score pushed the Mountaineers to a 49.175. Tun earned the event win with a season-best 9.875, while Kaufman and freshman Kendra Combs tied for second place with career-high 9.85s. Freshman Esperanza Abarca tallied a career-best 9.825 in the lineup’s first position to finish seventh overall. Junior Julia Merwin and sophomore Sydney Marler scored 9.775 and 9.7, respectively.
The Mountaineers had a rocky third rotation, and for the first time this season, WVU was forced to count a fall on balance beam. Sophomore McKenna Linnen opened the lineup with a 9.75, a mark matched by Abarca, and the pair tied for fourth place. Kaufman finished 10th with a 9.7, and freshman Taylor Sell anchored the lineup with a career-best 9.65.
Koshinski’s win on floor today was her sixth victory of the season on the event. She now shows 18 career floor scores of 9.9 or better and ranks alone at No. 2 in program history.
Tun tallied a career-best 9.925 for the second time in as many meets and finished second overall. Kaufman and Linnen tied for fourth place with career-high 9.875s; Linnen, again competing in the lineup’s first position, earned a 9.95 score from one judge. Junior Erica Fontaine earned a career-high matching 9.85 and placed eighth, and freshman Rachel Hornung finished 10th with a 9.825 total.
Kaufman finished second in the all-around with a career-best 39.225 total.
“Abby gets better and better every day,” Butts added. “Her training is incredible, and her attitude is incredible. She’s one of those people who, every time she walks into a room, she lights it up with her smile. I’m so thrilled for her. I had a feeling she was going to have a great meet today.”
The Aggies’ Madison Ward earned the all-around win with a 39.525 total.
With the wins, WVU improves to 63-14-2 all-time against the Panthers (6-7, 1-3 EAGL) and 6-0 against the Big Red (9-9, 5-1 ECAC). The Mountaineers drop to 2-3 against the Aggies (4-6, 0-4 MRGC).
WVU now gears up for two meets in three days next weekend. First up, the Mountaineers will travel to Pittsburgh on Friday, Feb. 22, for a tri-meet against the Panthers and Ball State at 7 p.m. inside Fitzgerald Field House.
The Mountaineers will conclude the weekend against No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum. It’s the Wendy M. Roach Invitational, and a pre-meet cheer clinic will be held from 11 a.m. – noon. Registration is free for all participants under 13. Clinic participants will receive free admission to the meet, and pizza will be provided.
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