The West Virginia University gymnastics team opened its 2016 season in Denver, Colorado over winter break.
WVU competed against Denver University and Southern Utah University in a tri-meet, held inside the Hamilton Gymnasium on Jan. 9.
WVU finished last in the tri-meet, with a score of 193.65. Denver won the match at home scoring 195.375, and Southern Utah followed closely behind them in second place with a score of 194.100.
"This was not the score we wanted, but now we know where we need to improve, and we will bounce back," said WVU head coach Jason Butts in an interview with WVUSports.com.
The Mountaineers received third place rankings in uneven bars, beam and floor but were able to gain a second place score on the vault.
"I thought we competed scared tonight until we got to vault in the fourth rotation," Butts said. "I was surprised by that, but it’s our first meet, and sometimes nerves happen. The skills are there, and there are certainly bright spots on each event. We just need to go back to Cary Gym and practice under more pressure."
This was the first match Denver has competed in since recently joining the Big 12 as an affiliate member.
"We’ve put all the training in, and we’ve done all the hard work," said senior gymnast Melissa Idell. "This is just the time to have fun and show the West Virginia show."
Junior Alexa Goldberg managed a career-high, all-around score of 38.975, good enough for third place in that event.
Mountaineer senior Audrey Tolbert also notched a career-high score, landing her in 10th place.
During the match, Goldberg and sophomore Zaakira Muhammad tied for third place on the uneven bars.
In the fourth rotation, Muhammad was able to get a fourth-place rank on the vault, with a 9.825 score.
"You could tell Alexa wanted it tonight," Butts said. "I was really impressed with the way she carried herself."
The Mountaineers will be back at home next Sunday against New Hampshire University. The theme for the match will be "Beauty and the Beast," and will be accompanied by a wrestling meet against Oklahoma.
This will be "Poster Day," allowing fans to pick up the 2016 gymnastics poster, which has the team’s schedule on it.
Also, face paintings and balloon creations will be offered by Mr. Twister.
The match will be held at 4 p.m. in the Coliseum.