No. 22 WVU Third at Big 12 Championship

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • March 18, 2017 08:23 PM
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FRISCO, Texas – The No. 22-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team scored 195.575 and finished in third place at the 2017 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship today inside the Dr. Pepper Arena.
Top-ranked Oklahoma (18-0, 6-0) won its sixth straight Big 12 title with a 197.85 score. No. 7 Denver (18-6, 2-3) scored 196.475 and finished in second place, while Iowa State (11-9, 0-5) tallied 195.5 and placed fourth.
Today marks the Mountaineers’ (13-10, 3-3) second straight third-place finish at the championship. WVU’s final score was its second-highest mark earned at a Big 12 Championship away from Morgantown.
“Overall, I’m happy with our performance today,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “I don’t think it was our best performance of the season, and when you enter an environment with the reigning National Champion and a second top-10 team, you have to compete your best to win. While we need to fix some things for the NCAA Regional Championships, I don’t think our score reflected our performance, but that’s out of our control.
“We have two weeks to train and get ready for regionals. This team continues to fight back from adversity. I’ve been saying that for years, but it’s true. They walk into competitions and expect to overcome anything that goes wrong. They don’t give up. They gain energy, no matter the stress that is placed on them, and that’s a great quality to have.”
The Mountaineers finished second on floor (49.15), third on vault (49.05) and balance beam (48.825) and fourth on uneven bars (48.55).
Two WVU gymnasts earned All-Big 12 Championship Team honors this afternoon, as sophomore Kirah Koshinski and junior Zaakira Muhammad tallied 9.9s on vault and floor, respectively. The recognition was the second career award for Koshinski, a two-time All-Big 12 Vault honoree, and the first for Muhammad.
“I’m really proud we had two podium finishers today,” Butts noted. “There are a ton of talented gymnasts in this conference. To place two Mountaineer gymnasts on the podium is a testament to how hard everyone works as a team and as individuals.”
Competing in Olympic order, the Mountaineers opened the meet with a strong 49.05 showing on vault, the team’s second-best road score of the season. Koshinski earned her sixth 9.9+ mark of the season and finished tied for second overall with a 9.9 score. Muhammad placed eighth overall with a 9.825 mark, while freshman Julia Merwin scored 9.8 and finished tied for 12th place. Junior Robyn Bernard opened the rotation with a 9.775 mark, while freshman Chloe Cluchey chipped in a 9.75.
Minor struggles on uneven bars in the second rotation resulted in a 48.55 total for the Mountaineers. A pair of sophomores paced WVU, as Tiara Wright and Jaquie Tun scored 9.75 and tied for 12th place. Bernard and classmate Jordan Gillette tied for 18th place with 9.7s, while Muhammad added a score of 9.65.
WVU was exceptionally steady on balance beam in the third rotation, hitting six-for-six routines and scoring 48.825, matching the team’s fourth-best score of the season. Senior Brooklyn Doggette anchored the lineup with a 9.8 and tied for 10th place. Gillette finished second on the team, 13th overall, with a 9.775 mark. Senior Alexa Goldberg, Koshinski and Muhammad tied for 15th place with 9.75s. Additionally, freshman Abby Kaufman tallied 9.725.
The Mountaineers saved their best for last, scoring 49.15 on floor in the fourth rotation. Muhammad tied for second place with a season-high 9.9. The Pennsauken, New Jersey, native has now scored 9.9 or better on every event but balance beam this season. Koshinski anchored the lineup with a 9.85 score and tied for sixth place. Cluchey tallied 9.825 and tied for 10th place, while Kaufman scored 9.8 and tied for 12th place. Gillette opened the rotation with a 9.775, matching her second-best score of the season.
Muhammad finished fifth in the all-around with a 39.125 score, while Goldberg placed eighth with a 38.075 total.
OU’s Chayse Capps, the Big 12 Gymnast of the Year, scored 39.625 and finished first in the all-around. Sooner freshman Maggie Nichols, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, won vault with a 10.0. Sooner teammates Brenna Dowell, McKenzie Wofford and Nichols tied for the bars win with 9.95s, while Capps and teammate Natalie Brown won beam with 9.925s. OU’s A.J. Jackson, the Big 12 Event Specialist of the Year, took the floor victory with a 9.95.
Mathematically locked for NCAA postseason competition, the Mountaineers will play host to the 2017 NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships at the WVU Coliseum on Saturday, April 1, at 4 p.m. Tickets are available now at WVUGAME.com


NCAA, WVU, gymnastics, Big 12 Conference

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