At the conclusion of the regular season, senior gymnast Dayah Haley has proven to be a crucial member of the West Virginia gymnastics team. Haley is a four-year senior and is wrapping up her degree in coaching.
Over the weekend the Mountaineers hosted their last regular season meet which was also Senior Night. Haley was one of the three members honored for their time on the squad.
“I handled it pretty well until the end. All of us got a little bit emotional, which is normal,” Haley said following the meet.
During her time in the gold and blue leotard, she has put up scores for WVU in crucial meets like the EAGL Championships in 2012, Big 12 Championships in 2013 and 2014, and the meet Saturday.
In 2012 at the EAGL Championships, Haley opened the uneven bars lineup for the Mountaineers and hit her career-high with a 9.8. Throughout that entire season she average a 9.664 on the bars, which was fourth best on the team. In the regional NCAA meet that same year she hit her then-career-best 9.8 on the vault.
Looking back on her time at West Virginia and the gymnastics she has performed, Haley said her memories from freshman year are the fondest.
“I always go back to EAGL my freshman year,” she said. “It was our first year having a college experience, and having us win that title was something you really can’t explain or put on paper. It’s just a feeling, it was really phenomenal to be a part of that and experience that and have that memory forever. It’s more than the ring we got, it’s a memory.”
Sophomore year only brought more opportunities for Haley to match and beat her previously set career numbers. In 2013 she competed in each meet and was the opener for the vault lineup all season. Scoring a 9.75 or higher in six different meets, Haley beat the career-high she set in her freshman year with a 9.825 against Iowa State.
Haley had competed as a multi-event gymnast in all meets her freshman season and was presented the chance to take on the balance beam in a meet her sophomore year against Denver. Although it was a last minute decision, she set a career-high of 9.725 on the beam and gained some competing experience.
On the year, Haley averaged a 9.731 on the vault and finished fourth best on the team for total season points.
Last season she really proved herself in terms of leadership and holding her own in events such as the vault, uneven bars and the floor. As she usually competed in those three events and has only faced the balance beam three times for competition in her four years, she continued to lead the team to wins with her scores.
Haley set or bested three career-high scores in the 2014 Big 12 Championships. In a decision made the day of the meet, coach Jason Butts put Haley in for the beam lineup and she competed in her first all-around. In the end she hit career-bests with 9.825 on the beam, 9.85 on the floor and her 39.125 in the all-around score was good enough for third place.
In her junior year, Haley saw the podium three different times but this year has been a little bit different.
Over the weekend, Haley hit a 9.9 on the floor; she has hit either a 9.9 or higher on four different occasions this season in that event. With time and training it is obvious that an athlete will get better, but Haley peaked at the best possible time for herself and the team.
The last meet was also the second time Haley has competed in all-around and she came out on top with a 39.075, not too much lower than her previously set all-around score.
This year Haley has walked up to the podium several times to receive awards following a meet and still has a couple of opportunities to do so. Going into this weekend Haley faces her final conference championship in the Big 12’s, and then the NCAA Regional meet the following weekend which will be at the Coliseum.