West Virginia gymnast Kiana Lewis celebrates with fellow teammate during a WVU gymnastics meet.

West Virginia gymnast Kiana Lewis celebrates with fellow teammate during a WVU gymnastics meet. 

The West Virginia gymnastics team might not have won a match yet this season, but that isn’t stopping WVU freshman Kiana Lewis from staying positive. 

Lewis made her WVU debut on vault against No. 4 Oklahoma in January, scoring an impressive score of 9.8, which earned her fifth place.

“For Kiana Lewis to stick her vault, dead cold, like she did, in her first collegiate meet, that was incredible to watch and it put a lot of energy into the team,” head coach Jason Butts said following the meet. 

So far this season, Lewis has competed in all four meets for the Mountaineers. Making her debut on uneven bars in just her second meet, scoring a 9.525 while anchoring for the team.

 In the third meet against Iowa State, Lewis competed on the floor event for the first time in her career adding her score of 9.55 to the team’s season-high floor total of 49.150. The freshman’s total points so far this season is 67.375. 

Lewis revealed that being a freshman during COVID-19 pandemic has been odd to say the least. 

“The transition coming into college with COVID-19 has been different. I will say that I have been successful through my challenges because of the resources given to me here with WVU athletics,” Lewis said. “They have someone to help with almost everything you would need to be successful in and out of the classroom.”

Because of COVID-19 protocols, practices and training are set up differently than they used to be. Butts believes it might be harder for the team to bond because of these protocols, but Lewis doesn’t see it that way.

“As a team, we still take time on free weekends when we don’t compete to go to our upperclassmen’s apartments and bond over games, getting dressed up and taking pictures, or just simple conversations with each other,” Lewis said. “Also for bonding with our coaches, they make the atmosphere in the gym so fun and inclusive, so it’s very easy to have great relationships with all of them.” 

The Hampton, Virginia, native decided to come to WVU because of the self-exploring atmosphere and thought that West Virginia would give her the best opportunity to express herself and her talents. Despite the slow start the Mountaineers are having in the season, Lewis believes the team has what it takes. 

“My teammates and I are putting in our best efforts in practice every day and are having so much fun in competitions,” Lewis said. “I’m happy knowing that each time I compete, I am getting better and growing as an athlete. Every time my coaches put me in, it makes me even more excited for the next opportunity that they could give me.”