WVU Gymnastics Fourth Again At Big 12; Will Make NCAAs

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    The West Virginia University gymnastics team scored 195.6 and finished fourth at the 2019 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship this afternoon inside the University of Oklahoma’s Lloyd Noble Center.

    No. 1-ranked Oklahoma won its eighth consecutive Big 12 Championship title with a 197.575 score. No. 5 Denver scored 197.25 and finished second, while No. 22 Iowa State placed third with a 195.95 total.

    The Mountaineers (19-12, 0-7), who hit 24-for-24 for the sixth time this season and first time since March 2, finished as high as third today on vault (49.05) and floor exercise (48.975). WVU finished fourth on uneven bars (48.875) and balance beam (48.7).

    “I loved that we came out and hit 24 routines, and our energy was great,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “Was it the outcome we wanted? No. This team came out and put on a great performance. Our consistency showed through, and that’s going to help us get ready for the regional championships.”

    In her second consecutive all-around appearance of the season, senior Jaquie Tun finished fifth overall with a score of 39.275. Junior Abby Kaufman finished in eighth place with a 38.85 score.

    “We always say we want our seniors to do their best gymnastics, and Jaquie really is,” Butts said. “I’m really proud of her, and we may be looking to put her in the all-around again as we continue into the postseason.”

    Maddie Karr from Denver won the all-around crown with a 39.6 total.

    The Mountaineers opened the meet with six hit routines on balance beam and earned a 48.7 mark. Tun anchored the lineup and scored 9.8 for a 10th-place finish. Senior Carly Galpin preceded Tun in the lineup and finished in 14th place with a 9.775, while Kaufman placed 17th with a 9.725. Sophomore McKenna Linnen and freshman Rachel Hornung added scores of 9.7.

    “I think we handled it (the pressure of opening on balance beam) amazingly,” Butts said. “The scoring was a little tight, but at the end of the day we can’t control that. All we can do is control our performances, and I felt they did a great job. Beam is a tough event to start on, especially on the road.”

    Oklahoma’s Maggie Nichols won balance beam with a 9.95.

    In the second rotation, WVU tallied 48.975 on floor exercise, with the last three competing gymnasts scoring 9.8 or better. Tun and senior Kirah Koshinski anchored the lineup with matching 9.85s and finished fifth overall. Hornung scored 9.8 and finished in 10th place. Linnen scored 9.75 in the lineup’s No. 1 position, while junior Erica Fontaine and Kaufman added scores of 9.725.

    OU’s Olivia Trautman finished first on floor exercise with a 9.975.

    The Mountaineers tallied their best team score of the meet in the third rotation, earning 49.05 on vault. The mark matches the team’s third-best score on the event this season. Koshinski earned WVU’s top finish of the day, scoring 9.9 and placing fourth overall. The Berwick, Pennsylvania, native now shows 48 career scores of 9.9 or better and sits tied with TeShawne Jackson (2000-03) at No. 1 in program history

    A trio of Mountaineers scored 9.8 and tied for 10th place – Kaufman, Tun and sophomore Michelle Waldron. The score matches Waldron’s career high. Hornung opened the lineup with a 9.75 showing.

    “Vault has been one of those lineups for us where we just don’t have a lot of depth,” Butts said. “I’m really proud of them. They knew they needed to step up today.”

    Karr and teammate Lynzee Brown tied for the vault win with 9.95 scores.

    WVU finished the championship with a 48.875 on uneven bars. Freshman Esperanza Abarca opened the rotation with a career-high matching 9.825, a mark matched by Tun, and the pair tied for 14th place. Sophomore Sydney Marler tied for 18th place with a 9.8, and junior Chloe Cluchey followed in 21st place with a 9.725. Freshman Kendra Combs added a 9.7 score.

    Karr and Nichols tied for the uneven bars victory with 9.95 scores.

    Based on their current National Qualifying Score of 195.84, the Mountaineers are a mathematical lock for the 2019 NCAA Regional Championships. WVU will learn its seed and regional site when the NCAA Selection Show airs Monday, March 25, at 5 p.m., on NCAA.com.

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