GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 22-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team tallied its second-best score of the season in a 197.6-196.1 loss at No. 3 Florida tonight inside the Exactech Arena at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center.
The Mountaineers’ mark, their top road score of the year, came in front of a crowd of 5,285 and ranks No. 27 in program history. WVU (12-8, 2-1) hit 24-for-24 routines tonight for the second time this season.
“To be able to come into this environment and hit every routine and receive such a great score on the road – I’m absolutely thrilled,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “Traveling is tough toward the end of a season, but this team came in here and stayed within itself. I don’t even know if they realized Florida, the defending SEC champion, was competing, too. Anything that was thrown our way tonight, we just moved right past it.
“We performed as a team tonight. I do not even want to single anyone out. This is exactly where we need to be at this moment as we move toward the Big 12 and NCAA Regional Championships.”
The Mountaineers opened the meet with their third-best bars score of the season, earning a solid 48.95. Senior Alexa Goldberg
finished third with a season-best 9.9, her ninth career mark of 9.9 or better earned on the event. The Ivyland, Pennsylvania, native now ranks second in program history. Junior Zaakira Muhammad
finished in fifth place with a 9.825 score, while sophomore Jaquie Tun
nailed her season debut and finished eighth overall with a 9.8. Junior Robyn Bernard
opened the rotation with a 9.75, and classmate Jordan Gillette
chipped in a 9.675.
UF (8-2, 5-2 SEC) opened the meet with a 49.45 showing on vault.
WVU moved to vault in the second rotation and finished with a 48.9. Sophomore Kirah Koshinski
paced the team and finished tied for third place with a 9.875 score. Muhammad and freshman Chloe Cluchey
tied for seventh place with 9.775s, while Bernard placed ninth with a 9.75. Goldberg followed with a 9.725 total.
The Gators earned 49.35 on bars in the second rotation.
UF gymnasts took the wins on vault and bars tonight. Rachel Slocum scored 9.95 on vault, while Alex McMurtry and Amelia Hundley finished with 9.925s on bars.
The Mountaineers moved to floor in the third rotation and earned their top road mark of the season, a 49.175 total. Koshinski anchored the lineup with a 9.9 score, her third 9.9+ mark in four meets, and tied for second place. Muhammad placed fifth with a 9.85, while Cluchey and freshman Abby Kaufman
tied for sixth place with 9.825s. Freshman Kassidy Cumber
added a 9.775.
UF earned a 49.425 score on balance beam in the third rotation.
WVU closed the meet with an unbelievable beam rotation, counting four scores of 9.8 or better and finishing with a 49.075 mark, its second-best showing of the season. Goldberg and Kaufman paced the team and finished fifth overall with 9.85s, a season high and career-best matching score for Goldberg. Koshinski finished in seventh with a 9.825, and senior Brooklyn Doggette
anchored with a 9.8, good enough for ninth place. Muhammad and Gillette added marks of 9.75 and 9.7, respectively.
UF concluded the meet with a 49.375 total on floor. McMurtry earned the beam victory with a 9.95, while Gator Kennedy Baker scored 9.975 for the floor win.
UF’s Rachel Gowey edged Muhammad for the all-around win, earning 39.275. Muhammad followed with a 39.2 total.
With the defeat, WVU drops to 2-13 all-time against the Gators.
The Mountaineers travel to Frisco, Texas, next weekend for the 2017 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship, set for Saturday, March 18, at 5 p.m. ET, inside the Dr. Pepper Arena.