COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 24-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team hit 24-for-24 routines for the first time this season but ultimately fell, 196.075-195.8, at No. 19 Ohio State this afternoon inside St. John Arena.
A tight meet which saw the teams stay within one-tenth of each other through three rotations was decided on the last event, as OSU wrestled away WVU’s lone advantage, a 146.975-146.875 lead, and secured the win with a 49.2 showing on floor.
“We came in with a ton of energy today and we had a great warm-up session,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “I challenged this team to get its act together after a shaky touch on bars, and they came back with a vengeance. We opened strong, and we continued that way throughout the meet.”
The Mountaineers’ (6-5, 1-1) mark is their third-highest of the season and second-best road mark of the year.
“We had a few lineup changes today at the last minute, and every gymnast who was called upon, including our freshmen, did an incredible job,” Butts noted. “We didn’t get the win today, but we finished with a really great score. I could not be more proud of this team. We had a lot thrown at us today, and we fought through it all.”
WVU hit six-for-six on the uneven bars in the first rotation and finished with a 48.9 mark, just 0.025 behind OSU, who opened with a 48.925 score on vault. Senior Alexa Goldberg
and sophomore Tiara Wright
continue to set the standard for the lineup. This week, the duo tied for third place with 9.825s. A trio of Mountaineers scored 9.75 and tied for sixth place: juniors Jordan Gillette
and Zaakira Muhammad
, and freshman Kassidy Cumber
Ohio State’s Alexis Mattern won bars with a 9.875 mark.
Despite tallying a solid 49.05 on vault in the second rotation, WVU continued to trail OSU after two rotations, 97.975-97.95.
Sophomore Kirah Koshinski
hit 9.9 or better for the fourth time this season and tied for the event win with a 9.9 mark. Muhammad finished in third place with a 9.85, and freshman Chloe Cluchey
scored 9.8, good enough for a share of fourth place.
The Mountaineers earned their only lead of the day following a 49.025 showing on floor. WVU counted five scores of 9.725 or better, including a winning, career-best 9.925 mark from Cluchey. The Woodbridge, Virginia, native returned to the lineup for the first time since debuting at Maryland on Jan. 8. Koshinski scored 9.85 and tied for fourth place, while junior Robyn Bernard
, a last-second lineup replacement, scored 9.775 and placed seventh. Cumber and Gillette added scores of 9.75 and 9.725, respectively.
Though WVU saw its lead slip away in the fourth rotation, it was not due to lack of effort or execution, as the team finished with a season-best 48.825 score. Sophomore Carly Galpin
anchored the lineup and finished second overall with a season-high 9.85. Freshman Abby Kaufman
, the team’s second last-minute lineup replacement in as many rotations, competed a solid routine in the No. 5 position and matched her career-best score of 9.775, giving her a share of third place. Goldberg and Gillette tied for sixth place with 9.75 marks, a season-high matching score for Goldberg, while Koshinski chipped in a 9.7.
OSU’s Taylor Harrison finished first on beam with a 9.875 score. Mattern finished first overall with a 39.375 mark.
“Chloe, Abby and Robyn – they all stepped in today and did a great job,” Butts mentioned. “We had a lot of people step up today, and it’s great to see we have the depth to do that. We need to find confidence in today’s meet – this team did a great job.”
The Buckeyes (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) continue to lead the all-time series, 18-13.
The Mountaineers return to the WVU Coliseum after three weeks away for the annual Wendy M. Roach Pink Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 26. WVU will compete against Iowa State and Maryland at 1 p.m.