The West Virginia University gymnastics team travels to Denver, Colorado, for another dual meet with No. 9 Denver on Sunday, Feb. 21. Competition inside Magness Arena is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET on Altitude TV.
Direct links to the video stream and live stats can be found on the gymnastics schedule page at WVUsports.com.
“We have been working on some basics the last couple practices,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We are working on shapes, certain skills, timers on vault, which is us trying to get our rotation better, so we are more dynamic – just little things like that across the board. We’re also working on upgrading some skills since we had a couple extra practices in there.
“This is going to be a road stretch for us, and we have to hit two great road scores for our ranking system with postseason, so we have to make this one count. Denver is a great team. It’s a great chance for us to go out there and be competitive with them. It gives us a chance to get a great road score that we can bring back home with us and start to solidify our ranking.”
The Mountaineers and Pioneers will meet for the 18th time overall on Sunday. UD owns a 12-5 all-time series advantage and is 8-1 against WVU since joining the league in 2016. The two teams last met on Feb. 11, with Denver capturing a 196.375-195.400 victory at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown.
West Virginia used season-high scores on two events to power to a season-best total in the loss. The Mountaineers finished second to the Pioneers on every event. Denver narrowly outscored West Virginia on floor exercise, 49.300-49.200, as five scores of 9.8 or better pushed WVU to a season-best total. WVU also earned a season high on bars with a 48.75 score. The Mountaineers opened the meet on vault with a 48.725 mark and also scored 48.725 on beam in the third rotation.
Sophomore Abbie Pierson, WVU’s Student-Athlete of the Week, ascended the podium in two-of-three events she competed in, including her second-place, 9.9 showing on floor, good for a season high. The New Kensington, Pennsylvania, native also tied for second on vault with a matching season-high score of 9.8. Additionally, freshman Chloe Asper competed on beam for the first time in her career, scoring a team-high 9.8 mark in the anchor position to tie for third overall.
Sunday will be another tight between the two squads on floor, as both teams rank inside the top 20 in this week’s Road to Nationals Rankings. WVU’s lineup continues to rank No. 20 in the event. The Mountaineers boast a 49.063 season average and have ranked inside the top 25 every week since the start of the season, while Denver sits at No. 13 (49.135 avg.).
WVU continues to rank No. 4 overall in the Big 12 Conference. The Mountaineers also sit at No. 4 on every event, with the exception of the floor lineup checking in at No. 3
Denver’s Lynnzee Brown sits atop the conference floor standings with a season average of 9.9, followed by senior McKenna Linnen in a tie for fifth with an average of 9.85. Junior Kendra Combs and sophomore Emily Holmes-Hackerd join Linnen in the top 10 rankings, boasting season averages of 9.844 and 9.838, respectively.
Eleven Mountaineers earned time in at least one lineup last week, with five gymnasts competing in three or more events. Holmes-Hackerd paces the team with 143.2 season points, followed by sophomore Kianna Yancey with 135.725.
Looking ahead, WVU heads to Ames, Iowa, on Monday, March 1, to wrap up its Big 12 slate with Iowa State. Competition is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.