No. 22 Mountaineers Eye Big 12 Title

  • By Shannon McNamara
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  • March 17, 2017 12:52 PM
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FRISCO, Texas – The No. 22-ranked West Virginia University gymnastics team competes for the conference title at the 2017 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship on Saturday, March 18, at 5 p.m. ET, inside the Dr. Pepper Arena.
FloGymnastics will provide live and on-demand coverage of the Big 12 Gymnastics Championship on FloGymnastics.com. 
Tickets for the championship are available for purchase now at Big12Sports.com. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for youth (ages 3-12) and $5 for groups of 10 or more.
“We want to go on the road this weekend and get a great road score,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We aren’t worried about the other teams or the judges. Our training has focused on doing the best gymnastics we can by focusing on the little details and controlling what we can control.”
The Mountaineers (12-8, 2-1) enter the championship ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 Conference. WVU’s national ranking is its best position in five championship appearances.
Reigning NCAA National Champion Oklahoma (15-0, 3-0) ranks No. 1 nationally and in the Big 12. No. 7-ranked Denver (16-5, 0-2) sits at No. 2 in the conference, and Iowa State (11-6, 0-2) ranks No. 4 in the Big 12. According to RoadtoNationals.com, all four teams are mathematical locks for the 2017 NCAA Regional Championships.
OU has won the last five conference titles and nine overall, while ISU has claimed two titles, the last in 2006. This is the Pioneers’ second season as an affiliate member.
WVU is 2-1 against conference foes this season and picked up wins over DU and ISU in Morgantown, defeating the then-No. 7 Pioneers, 196.3-195.9, on Jan. 29, and the then-No. 24 Cyclones, 195.95-195.725, on Feb. 26. The Mountaineers dropped a 197.925-195.55 decision to the No. 1 Sooners on Jan. 21, at the WVU Coliseum.
“Oklahoma is obviously amazing, Denver is having a great season and Iowa State is always a tough competitor,” Butts said. “We can only focus on what we can control. The No. 1 goal is to get that great road score. Hopefully, we will defeat all three teams, but ultimately I want us to turn in a strong performance and earn a great score as we continue to build up to the regional championships.”
The Mountaineers finished third at the 2016 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship with a 195.925 mark earned on March 19, also inside the Dr. Pepper Arena. The team’s total was its best championship mark earned away from Morgantown. Kirah Koshinski, the 2016 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, earned All-Big 12 Championship Team accolades with a third place, 9.9 showing on vault.
WVU will compete in Olympic order on Saturday and opens the meet on vault. The Mountaineers will open and close the meet on events which they are nationally ranked, as WVU sits at No. 19 in vault with a 49.085 regional qualifying score (RQS) and No. 22 in floor (49.145 RQS).
Led by No. 13-ranked Koshinski, a two-time All-Big 12 Vault Team honoree, the Mountaineers have scored 49.0 or better on vault five times, including a season-high 49.25 on Jan. 29. Koshinski and junior Zaakira Muhammad, ranked No. 32 nationally, have combined for five victories this year and have hit for career- and season-highs of 9.95 and 9.9, respectively.
WVU’s floor lineup is just as dynamic, scoring 49.0 or better seven times, including a season-best 49.375 at the WVU Coliseum on March 5. Recently, the team tallied a season-high road mark of 49.175 at No. 3 Florida on March 10. Koshinski paces the floor lineup and ranks No. 18 nationally with a 9.909 RQS. The Berwick, Pennsylvania, native has scored a career-high 9.95 twice and has not earned less than 9.85 this season. Freshman Chloe Cluchey re-entered the lineup on Feb. 18 and has scored 9.825 or better four times, including a career-best 9.925 twice.
Senior Alexa Goldberg paces the Mountaineers on uneven bars and ranks No. 42 nationally with a 9.87 RQS. The Ivyland, Pennsylvania, native earned a season-best 9.9 on March 10, pushing her career 9.9+ mark on bars to nine, the second-best total in program history.
Classmate Brooklyn Doggette paces the Mountaineers on balance beam with a 9.815 RQS. The Pickerington, Ohio, native scored a career-best 9.875 on March 5 and has not earned below 9.8 in the last three meets.
OU ranks No. 1 nationally in every event but vault, where the Sooners sit at No. 2. An OU gymnast also ranks No. 1 in the Big 12 Conference on vault (Maggie Nichols and Brenna Dowell, 9.935 RQS), bars (Maggie Nichols, 9.955 RQS), balance beam (Maggie Nichols and Chayse Capps, 9.955 RQS), floor exercise (Maggie Nichols, 9.965 RQS) and the all-around (Maggie Nichols, 39.785 RQS). 


WVU, NCAA, gymnastics, Big 12 Conference