March 1, 2020. WVU Coliseum. Sophomore Rachel Hornung celebrates completing her bars routine.

March 1, 2020. WVU Coliseum. Sophomore Rachel Hornung celebrates completing her bars routine.

The West Virginia gymnastics head coach Jason Butts sat down with the media on Feb. 4 to talk about how he feels about the season so far and what needs to still improve with the team. 

“I was really happy with the energy that the team brought in,” Butts said about his team’s performance against Oklahoma. “We competed still a bit tentatively and we have to get a bit more aggressive out there. There was more attention to detail, we stuck better landings, the handstand work was better, and even the floor presentation I thought was even better from last weekend. It all comes from confidence,” Butts explained.  

Before West Virginia even made it to the meet in Oklahoma, it was faced with a struggle. The team was stuck in the Dallas airport for nine hours. The next morning the Mountaineers had transportation issues getting to the competition. 

“This has already been a kind of up and down year where nothing really goes to plan. I think it did affect them and they handled it as best as they could have,” Butts said. “It had a very fortunate side effect that it made for some team bonding which quite honestly has been lacking for us this year, just with how we’re training and how we’re isolated. But there were a lot of laughs and some good memories made, and at the end of the day it definitely had a silver lining to it.”

WVU was leading Oklahoma going into the third rotation and was looking like it might pull away with the lead. 

“I told them at the time of the meet, actually when the competition was over, I said, I don’t remember ever leading Oklahoma going into the third rotation like that,” Butts said. 

Despite the loss to the Sooners, Butts was confident and proud in the team. 

“I told them, we’re Mountaineers, we always climb. You just let Oklahoma know we’re coming for them one piece at a time and we’re going to keep climbing that mountain,” Butts said. “ It was definitely one of the most united team meets that I remember in recent history. They just really came together, and I’ve seen this, this week in the gym as well. It’s definitely going to affect our performance, in a positive way.”