PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Despite gaining momentum throughout the meet, the No. 19-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team could not overcome an early deficit and fell at Pitt, 194.025-193.875, tonight inside Fitzgerald Field House.
The Mountaineers (1-1) defeated the Panthers (1-1) on each event but uneven bars, winning vault (48.8), balance beam (48.425) and floor (48.85). Pitt took the bars win with a 48.9 mark.
“This team did not show up today. Not only did they not show up to compete, but they didn’t show up to warmup,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We were a disaster in warmups, and they brought that performance back out into the area and competed in similar fashion.
“This team didn’t fight tonight, and we never had any momentum. We work way too hard in practice to have a performance like this, especially on an easy road trip against a yearly rival. We’re going to get back in the gym on Sunday, and we will fix this.”
The Mountaineers had a rough start tonight on uneven bars, and the team was forced to count a fall for the first time this season. After one rotation, WVU trailed Pitt, 48.425-47.8.
Sophomore Tiara Wright
reached the bars podium, scoring a season-best 9.8 and finishing third overall. Junior Robyn Bernard
opened the meet with a 9.7 mark, good enough for a share of sixth place. Classmate Zaakira Muhammad
chipped in a score of 9.675 and finished in eighth place.
WVU made up ground in the second rotation but still trailed Pitt, scoring 48.8 on vault and pushing its two rotation total to 96.6. The Panthers tallied 48.9 on bars and continued to lead with a 97.325 mark.
A pair of Mountaineers earned the vault win, as Muhammad and sophomore Kirah Koshinski
tallied matching scores of 9.85. Freshman Julia Merwin
finished in fourth place with a season-best 9.775. Freshman Chloe Cluchey
tied for fifth place with a 9.675 mark, and senior Alexa Goldberg
added a season-high score of 9.65.
The Mountaineers made up ground in the third rotation, scoring a season-high 48.85 on floor and pushing their three-event mark to 145.45. The Panthers scored 47.975 on balance beam and trailed for the first time with a 145.3 total.
The backend of WVU’s floor lineup continues to stun, as Koshinski and Muhammad scored 9.875 and 9.85, respectively, and finished in first and third place. The marks were season highs for both gymnasts. Freshman Kassidy Cumber
and Bernard made their floor career debuts tonight and tallied matching 9.75 marks, good enough for a share of fifth place.
The Mountaineers saw their advantage slip away in the fourth rotation, as they tallied 48.425 on beam while the Panthers earned 48.725 on floor.
Sophomore Carly Galpin
earned a share of the beam win in her season debut, as she finished with a 9.825 mark, the best beam score for a Mountaineer gymnast this season. Goldberg finished in fourth place with a season-high 9.75 mark, and Wright finished in fifth place with a 9.725 score in her season debut. Additionally, Koshinski finished in sixth place with a 9.675 score.
Despite the loss, WVU continues to lead the all-time series, 57-13-2.
The Mountaineers open their 2017 home slate against No. 2 Oklahoma next weekend, with competition on Jan. 21 set to begin at 7 p.m. inside the WVU Coliseum.