Mountaineers Victorious in Season Opener

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • January 08, 2017 03:53 PM
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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – A back-and-forth meet which saw the lead change hands several times ended on a positive note for the West Virginia University gymnastics team, as the Mountaineers opened the 2017 season with a 194.4-193.95 win at Maryland this afternoon inside the XFINITY Center.
Trailing 146.025-145.725 moving into the fourth rotation, WVU (1-0) overcame a slow start on beam with four scores of 9.75 or better to seal the victory over the Terrapins (0-1).
“Overall, I’m happy with today,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We had some unexpected mistakes. I wasn’t very happy with our warmup this morning, but I think we came out of the locker room and turned in some great performances. We were very focused on the little details this preseason. Now, we need to clean up some of the big things and regroup for next weekend.
“I was happy to see a lot of fight from this team today - I liked that. We walk away from this first meet with a win and a decent starting score. The potential is there to do better, and that’s going to be our focus moving forward.”
The Mountaineers opened the meet with a 48.45 on bars. Freshman Chloe Cluchey paced WVU and finished tied for second place with a 9.775 mark. Sophomore Tiara Wright finished fourth overall with a 9.75, while junior Robyn Bernard tallied 9.725 and placed fifth.
Trailing 48.525-48.45 through one rotation, WVU quickly wrestled the advantage away, tallying 48.975 on vault and pushing its two-event score to 97.425. UMD fell behind with a 97.25 running total.
Sophomore All-American Kirah Koshinski quickly reclaimed her spot as the team’s top vaulter, matching her career-best score of 9.925 and finishing first overall. She now owns six career vault scores of 9.9 or better. Junior Zaakira Muhammad anchored the lineup with a 9.85 vault and finished in second place. Freshman Julia Merwin made her collegiate debut in front of a hometown crowd and finished in a tie for third place with a 9.75 mark. Bernard and Cluchey tied for sixth place with matching 9.725s.
A 48.3 showing on floor in the third rotation was not enough for WVU to maintain its lead, and the Mountaineers again fell behind, 146.025-145.725.
Koshinski earned her second win of the meet on floor, capping an exciting rotation with a 9.85 mark. Muhammad preceded her in the lineup and finished third overall with a 9.775 mark, and Merwin tied for fourth place with a 9.75. Senior Alexa Goldberg finished sixth with a 9.725 total.
Junior Jordan Gillette put the exclamation point on the Mountaineers’ meet-winning fourth rotation, scoring a career-high 9.9 on balance beam and earning the event victory. Koshinski matched her career-high mark and tied for second place with a 9.8 score. Senior Brooklyn Doggette made a strong return to competition, finishing fourth overall with a 9.775 score, and freshman Kassidy Cumber placed fifth with a 9.75.
With two event wins today, Koshinski pushes her career victory total to 11.
Of note, after today’s performance, Goldberg joins the Mountaineers’ 1,000-career point list, as her four-year total stands at 1,021.725.
Today’s team win puts the Mountaineers’ all-time series advantage over the Terrapins at 38-18-1.  
The Mountaineers continue their season-opening road trip at Pitt on Friday, Jan. 13, at 6:30 p.m., at Fitzgerald Field House. 


WVU, gymnastics