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Mountaineers Finish Fourth at Big 12s

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 20, 2021) – The West Virginia University gymnastics team scored a 195.725 and finished fourth at the 2021 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship on Saturday afternoon, held at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown.

“I want to say thank you to all the fans that came out today to support us,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “It was a great environment, and I was really happy that we were able to open it up to Mountaineer Nation. It finally felt like a real gymnastics meet. 

“With it being a quad meet, there was just a ton of energy and excitement. It made it easier for us to focus on just us. I didn’t see very much of the other teams, and our team was trying not to watch the other teams, so I didn’t really know how things were going to shake out until the very end.”

No. 9-ranked Denver won its first Big 12 Championship title with a 197.350 score. No. 1 Oklahoma scored 197.125 and finished second, while No. 22 Iowa State placed third with a 197.050 total.

The Mountaineers posted a trio of 49.0+ performances, finishing as high as third on floor exercise with a 49.275 showing to mark their second-best floor total of the season.  WVU finished fourth on the uneven bars (49.025), vault (49.0) and balance beam (48.425). Of note, the squad’s vault score was good for a season high.

“Those three 49.0+ event scores were great,” Butts said. “They could’ve been even higher. We had some mistakes on those events here and there, but we will take it. We were putting together our best meet of the season, but beam can be the nemesis sometimes. Thankfully, today, it was not the nemesis that it could have been. They fought very hard to stay on top of it. That fight saved them several tenths. The score we got today is very respectable. I was proud of them. It could have been a much different turnout. Overall, I was very happy with the effort. We don’t like mistakes, but they happen. We’ll just keep training and try to eliminate what we can.”

The Mountaineers opened the meet with a 49.275 mark on floor, with all six gymnasts scoring 9.8 or better. Sophomore Abbie Pierson anchored the lineup and earned WVU’s highest individual finish of the day, matching her season-best total of 9.9 to place fourth overall. Freshman Kiana Lewis tallied a matching personal-best mark of 9.875 and tied for fifth. Senior McKenna Linnen and sophomore Kianna Yancey tied for 11th with matching 9.85s. The score also matched their season bests. Junior Kendra Combs and sophomore Emily Holmes-Hackerd added scores of 9.8.

Denver’s Lynnzee Brown and Iowa State’s Adnerys De Jesus tied for the floor win with 9.95 scores.

In the second rotation, WVU tallied a season-best 49.0 on vault. Pierson anchored the lineup once again with a season-high 9.875 mark to tie for sixth overall. Senior Michelle Waldron and Kianna Yancey tied for 14th with matching 9.8s, followed by Lewis with a 9.775 total in a tie for 18th. Junior Rachel Hornung earned a season-high matching 9.75 and tied for 20th, while sophomore Kayla Yancey added a 9.725 mark and placed 22nd.

OU’s Anastasia Webb finished first on vault with a 9.925.

West Virginia scored 49.0 or better on bars in two of its last three meets, earning a 49.025 in the third rotation. Holmes-Hackerd paced the Mountaineer lineup in the anchor position with a career-high matching 9.85 in a tie for 10th. Combs placed 16th with a matching season-best total of 9.825. Kianna Yancey and Hornung posted matching 9.8s in a tie for 17th. Of note, Kianna Yancey’s mark was good for a season high. Kayla Yancey and junior Esperanza Abarca added marks of 9.75 and 9.65, respectively. 

Brown won the bars title outright with a 10.0 mark. She became the first visiting gymnast to earn a perfect score in the event at the WVU Coliseum.

WVU finished the championship with a 48.425 on beam. Combs tied for sixth with a career-high matching score of 9.875, followed by Hornung in a tie for 10th with a season-best matching 9.85. Pierson tallied a 9.675 to place 19th, while freshman Chloe Asper finished in 20th with a 9.625 mark. Linnen and Holmes-Hackerd recorded unfortunate falls in their series, adding 9.4 and 9.2 marks, respectively.

Oklahoma’s Ragan Smith and Webb tied for first with matching 9.95s.

Up next, the Mountaineers will learn their postseason fate when the NCAA Selection Show airs on Monday, March 22, at 5 p.m. ET, on NCAA.com. West Virginia will play host to the 2021 NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships from April 1-3, at the WVU Coliseum. 

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