KENT, Ohio – The No. 25-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team tallied its second-best score of the season in a big, 195.95-194.875 win at Kent State this afternoon inside the M.A.C. Center.
The Mountaineers (5-2, 1-1) have now scored 195.0 or better in three straight meets. WVU’s final mark is its best road score since earning 196.225 at the Unite for Her Pink Invitational in Philadelphia on Feb. 26, 2016.
Today’s team total was fueled by a season high, winning 48.75 showing on balance beam. WVU swept the Golden Flashes (2-5, 1-1 MAC), also winning vault (49.15), uneven bars (48.925) and floor exercise (49.125).
“Our goal today was to get our top road mark of the season, and we did just that,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We wanted to drop a road score, and now we will. Beyond the score, though, I was proud of this team’s confidence today. We experienced some adversity, and we fought back each time. I’m so happy with our overall performance.”
In just her second all-around appearance of the season, senior Alexa Goldberg finished first overall with a 39.15 mark, her seventh career 39.0+ score.
“It was awesome to have Lex compete in the all-around again,” Butts said. “She’s been working hard in Cary Gym on floor and balance beam, and she’s rock solid when she’s competing with confidence.”
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early lead, tallying 48.925 on uneven bars, their second-best mark on the apparatus this season, while the Golden Flashes earned 48.85 on vault.
For the second straight meet, Goldberg set the standard for the lineup, matching her season-high score of 9.875 and finishing first overall. Sophomore Tiara Wright was just as strong, earning 9.85 in the anchor position and finishing in second place. Junior Zaakira Muhammad scored 9.8 and placed fourth, while freshman Kassidy Cumber earned a career-high 9.725 and finished in eighth place.
“Tiara had a beautiful bar routine,” Butts said. “I was happy to see her up her difficulty and nail the routine.”
Four scores of 9.8 or better on vault pushed WVU to an event total of 49.15, also the team’s second-best score of the season, and resulted in a two-event lead of 98.075-97.25. KSU scored 48.4 on bars.
Ranked No. 17 nationally, sophomore Kirah Koshinski earned her third vault title of the season with her second straight 9.9 mark. Junior Robyn Bernard opened the rotation with a season-high 9.85 and finished in second place, while Muhammad tallied 9.825 and tied for third place. Freshman Chloe Cluchey tied for fifth place with a 9.8, while Goldberg tallied a career-best 9.775 and finished in seventh place. Freshman Julia Merwin chipped in a 9.75 mark.
The Mountaineers kept rolling in the third rotation, tallying 49.125 on floor, their best mark away from Morgantown this season, and pushing their event total to 147.2. Kent State scored 48.65 on beam and continued to trail with a 145.9 total.
Koshinski scored 9.9+ for the third straight week and earned her fourth floor title with a 9.9 score. The Berwick, Pennsylvania, native now ranks No. 13 in program history with five career floor scores of 9.9 or better. Muhammad, Cumber and Goldberg tied for third place with matching 9.825s; the mark is a career high for Cumber and a season best for Goldberg. Merwin opened the rotation with a 9.75.
WVU closed the meet with its season-best showing on balance beam. The Mountaineers completed their sweep of the individual titles, as senior Brooklyn Doggette matched her career-high score of 9.825 for the second time this season and earned her first career event victory. Koshinski finished in second place with a 9.8, the third time this year she has hit her career high. Back in the lineup for the first time since the team’s season opener on Jan. 8, freshman Abby Kaufman tallied a career-high 9.775 and finished in third place. Goldberg chipped in a score of 9.675, and Wright added a 9.65 mark.
“Getting Abby back in the beam lineup is going to be such a big confidence boost for her,” Butts concluded. “She’s been working hard in the gym, and I can see her working her way into other lineups, too. I’m proud of her, and I’m excited to see her continue to grow.”
With the win, WVU improves to 22-9 all-time against Kent State.
The Mountaineers stay on the road next week for a meet at Towson with Temple on Sunday, Feb. 12, with action inside the SECU Arena set to begin at 2 p.m.