The West Virginia gymnastics team has started the season with an overall high score of 195.875 and most recently finished in second place with an overall score of 194.5 in their very first tri-meet hosted at the Coliseum on Sunday.
While these scores are a team effort, a large part of the team’s current success is due to senior gymnast Zaakira Muhammad.
Muhammad, who recently began her fourth and final year with the Mountaineers, has already contributed 78.2 points to the team’s overall scores, averaging just over 26 points per meet.
“Zaakira makes sure that her efficiency in practice is dead on,” said WVU head coach Jason Butts, who recruited Muhammad just a couple of years into his head coaching position at West Virginia. “Her competitions are a direct result of her hard work.”
During her junior season, Muhammad was named to the All-Big 12 Gymnastics team and was an all-around qualifier for the NCAA Gymnastics National Championship. Additionally, she ranks 19th in program history with 10 scores of 9.9 or above while sitting well above the 1,000 career point threshold with just over 1,221 points.
“She just expects excellence and expects it out of the rest of the team and does a tremendous job leading by example,” Butts said. “You should be doing your best gymnastics your senior year. She is a picture of efficiency when it comes to practice.”
This year, Muhammad has stuck to her strong work ethic and usual high scores with a 9.775 score in vault, a 9.8 score on bars and a 38.85 total score against No. 2 Florida. This first performance has set the tone for the remainder of her season, as she continues to add to her total.
Last year, Muhammad led the team in overall points with a total 478.8875 at the conclusion of her season.
Muhammad and the Mountaineers are coming off their second place finish against George Washington and Towson and will face both UC Davis and Illinois-Chicago in California this weekend for their second tri-meet of the year. The meet is set to start at 10 p.m. ET.