The West Virginia gymnastics team hosted Penn State on Thursday for the NCAA Regionals. WVU outscored the Nittany Lions, 195.950- 195.325, to move on to the second round of regionals on Friday.
The Mountaineers started on uneven bars for the first rotation with junior Esperanza Abarca in her typical lead off position. Abarca scored a 9.775 and tied for ninth-place with Penn State sophomore Cassidy Rushlow. Sophomore Kayla Yancey earned a 9.7 for 11th place.
Junior Kendra Combs tallied a 9.8 mark, tying for fourth-place with a trio of Mountaineers, classmate Rachel Hornung, sophomores Emily Holmes-Hackerd, Kianna Yancey and with Penn State freshman Natalie Cross. Kianna Yancey matched her season-high score with this mark.
The total score for WVU in the first rotation was 48.975.
For their second rotation the Mountaineers looked to increase their lead over the Nittany Lions on vault. Kianna Yancey started off with a 9.75 mark, tying with Penn State’s Cross for fifth-place. Hornung followed with her score of 9.7, tying for eighth-place with Penn State sophomore Amy Bladon.
Kayla Yancey added a 9.65 mark, earning a tie with senior Michelle Waldron for 11th place. Freshman Kiana Lewis and sophomore Abbie Pierson scored a matching 9.8 mark, tying for first-place with Penn State freshman Maggie Ayers and Rushlow.
West Virginia’s final score for the second rotation was 48.700.
Going into their third rotation, the Mountaineers needed to create momentum to hopefully take back the lead against PSU.
Kianna Yancey started off the floor event for WVU with a 9.8, tying with PSU senior Erynne Allen for ninth-place. Senior McKenna Linnen followed with a 9.825, just short of her season-high and tied for sixth-place with two PSU gymnasts, senior Alissa Bonsall and junior Melissa Astarita.
Holmes-Hackerd tied with PSU’s Rushlow for fourth-place with their scores of 9.850, while Lewis earned a 9.875 and placed third.
Combs matched her personal-best mark of 9.9 and tied with teammate Pierson for first-place. Pierson matched her season-high score with this mark.
The Mountaineers tallied a season-high mark in the floor event with a 49.350 and regained the lead over PSU.
For the fourth and final rotation, the Mountaineers looked to the beam to solidify the win. Holmes-Hackerd led off for the Mountaineers, scoring a 9.775 and tied for fourth-place with PSU freshman Maddie Johnston.
Hornung recorded an unfortunate fall in her series, scoring a 9.075 and ended up in 12th place. Pierson followed with a 9.75 mark, tying with Nittany Lion’s Cross for sixth-place.
Combs, Lewis, and freshman Chloe Asper closed out the rotation with their matching scores of 9.8 and the trio tied for first-place.
The total score for the beam even for WVU was 48.925.
With the win the Mountaineers advance to the second round of the competition. The second round is being held at the WVU Coliseum in Morgantown on Friday. West Virginia will compete against the University of Michigan, UCLA and Kent State. Competition is set to begin at 7 p.m.