TOWSON, Md. – A slow start on balance beam proved too much for the No. 24-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team to overcome, as the Mountaineers tallied 194.575 and finished in third place today inside the SECU Arena.
North Carolina tallied 195.525 and finished first overall, while the host Tigers placed second with a 195.025 total. Temple scored 193.575 and finished fourth.
The Mountaineers (6-4, 1-1) closed the meet strong, winning vault and uneven bars with scores of 48.975 and 49.075, respectively. WVU’s bars score is its second best of the season. The team finished third on floor with a 48.85 mark and fourth on beam with a 47.675 total.
“I was happy we were able to come back and end the day on a positive note,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “The team came together, and we ended on such a high point that it made the sting of losing a little easier. We just need to work harder to not come out so scared next time – we’re too good of a team for that type of performance.”
For the first time this season, the Mountaineers opened a meet on balance beam. Unfortunately, the squad was forced to count a fall and finished with a team total of 47.675, putting WVU in fourth place through one rotation.
Sophomore Kirah Koshinski
and senior Alexa Goldberg
were solid at the top of the lineup, scoring 9.75 and 9.7, respectively, and finishing in 10th and 13th place. Sophomore Carly Galpin
finished third on the team, 15th overall, with a 9.6 mark.
The Mountaineers made up ground in the second rotation, scoring 48.85 on floor and pushing their two-event total to 96.525, good enough for third place.
Koshinski was short of spectacular today, as the Berwick, Pennsylvania, native, ranked No. 13 nationally, stuck all three passes. She came up just short of the event win, though, finishing third with a 9.85 score.
“Kirah handed in a great performance on floor,” Butts said. “I would have liked to have seen her score be a bit more representative of her performance, but in the end, we can’t take that routine from her. It was just great.”
WVU continued to persevere in the third rotation, tallying 48.975 on vault and pushing its three-event mark to 145.5. The Mountaineers continued to sit in third place.
Muhammad paced the lineup with a 9.85 score, a mark she has hit four times this season, and finished in first place, her second vault victory of the year. Junior Robyn Bernard
opened the lineup with a 9.825, and Koshinski matched her score in the anchor position. The duo finished third overall. Goldberg chipped in a 9.75 score and finished in 12th place, and freshman Julia Merwin
added a 9.725 mark, good enough for 13th overall.
WVU’s final push on bars was highlighted by three scores of 9.85 or better. Goldberg and sophomore Tiara Wright
tied for the event win with season-best matching marks of 9.875. Muhammad finished in third place with a 9.85, also a season-high score, while Cumber tied for ninth place with a career-best 9.775. Bernard and junior Jordan Gillette
opened the rotation with 9.7s.
For the second straight week, Goldberg scored 39.0+ in the all-around. The Ivyland, Pennsylvania, native finished fourth overall this afternoon with a 39.05 total.
“Alexa had a great day – she is the little engine that could,” Butts commented. “She’s a dark horse and just keeps chugging along.
“Zaakira also had a really good day. She was solid in all three events. Zaakira competed a beautiful vault and an upgraded dismount on bars. I’m hoping we can get her in the all-around soon.”
Despite the losses, WVU continues to lead the overall series against UNC (29-16) and Towson (21-11). The Mountaineers are 45-1 all-time against the Owls.
WVU closes its road swing at No. 18 Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m., inside St. John Arena in Columbus, Ohio.