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Nine Gymnasts Earn Academic All-Big 12 Honors

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 24, 2021) – Nine West Virginia University gymnasts were named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 Gymnastics Teams, the league office announced on Wednesday.

Of the nine Mountaineer honorees, sophomore Kianna Yancey (psychology) earned the recognition with a 4.00 grade point average (GPA). The Hatfield, Pennsylvania, native was one of five from the conference to boast a 4.00 GPA, as she was named to the first team for the first time in her career. As a freshman, she landed on the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team list.

Additionally, sophomores Emily Holmes-Hackerd (exercise physiology) and Abbie Pierson (exercise physiology) each earned their first career first-team honors, as they landed on the Academic All-Big 12 Rookie Team a year ago.

Juniors Esperanza Abarca (exercise physiology) and Rachel Hornung (exercise physiology) earned their second first-team honors, while senior McKenna Linnen (marketing) garnered her third career Academic All-Big 12 First Team accolade.

Additionally, a trio of Mountaineer gymnasts received second-team recognition. Junior Kendra Combs (business) was honored for the second time after earning first-team accolades as a sophomore. Senior Michelle Waldron (marketing) and sophomore Kayla Yancey (human nutrition & foods) also collected their first career awards.

In total, 39 gymnasts earned recognitions from the Big 12. The first team is comprised of 36 selections, while three members were represented on the second team. Iowa State led the way with 13 honorees, followed by 11 from Oklahoma and nine from West Virginia. Affiliate member Denver had six.

First team members consist of those who have maintained a 3.20 GPA or higher, while the second team selections hold a 3.00-3.19 GPA.
To qualify, student-athletes must maintain a 3.00 GPA or higher, either cumulative or the two previous semesters, and must have participated in 20 percent of their team’s scheduled contests. Freshmen and transfers are not eligible in their first year of academic residence. Senior student-athletes who have participated for a minimum of two years and meet all the criteria except percent of participation also are eligible.

Looking ahead, West Virginia will compete against Penn State in the play-in round of the NCAA Morgantown Regional Championships, held at the WVU Coliseum, starting at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, April 1.

The winner of Thursday afternoon’s matchup will advance to Friday’s second session and face No. 4 Michigan, No. 13 UCLA and Kent State at 7 p.m.

Due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols, and for the overall safety of spectators at indoor events, attendance will be capped at approximately 2,700 spectators. Priority will be given to families and guests of the gymnasts and gymnastics coaching staffs, along with a limited number of WVU students and fans.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting, calling 1-800-WVU-GAME or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at the Gold Gate of the WVU Coliseum. Tickets are $8 each on Thursday, $10 each on Friday and $12 each on Saturday. A limited number of WVU students will be admitted for free with a valid Student I.D. for sessions that feature the WVU gymnastics team. The ticket office, as well as the Gold Gate, opens an hour before competition.

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