Melissa Idell

WVU’s Melissa Idell competes on the dance mat in a February meet against Kentucky.

The No. 25 Mountaineers gymnastics team has gotten the ball rolling within the past several weeks after scoring a season high 196.225 in their last meet.

Although West Virginia had more than a 10 percent increase in its RQS score over the weekend, WVU dropped two spots from No. 23 to No. 25 when two teams who had previously not competed in enough meets to qualify for RQS rankings met the requirement on Sunday.

With last Sunday’s strong performance in Philadelphia, the Mountaineers were able to drop one of their poorer road scores from earlier this year and have now put themselves in the drivers seat with postseason play a mere three weeks away.

The ideal scenario for the Mountaineers would be to record a team score of 196.0-plus for the second straight week. This would allow them to drop their score of 195.6 recorded in their home meet against Kentucky.

After six WVU gymnasts set career-high scores last week, it’s not unreasonable to think that the Mountaineers will keep improving their scores throughout the remainder of the season.

While the toughest part of the regular season schedule is behind them, the team will have no easy task in its competition between Ohio State and Bowling Green, who are nationally ranked at No. 29 and No. 41, respectively.

Ohio State and West Virginia are more evenly matched than the four-spot difference in national ranking indicates. The Buckeyes have put up the highest score between the two this season with a 196.350 on the road against Rutgers last month.

Ohio State is also looking to carry some momentum into this week’s meet after tying for first place with a score of 195.8 in a tri-team meet against Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan.

The Buckeyes have a deep and talented roster at their disposal, as four different gymnasts hold top 50 rankings in each of the four events.

Freshman Jamie Stone ranks No. 46 on vault with an RQS score of 9.835 and the team ranks No. 27 in the event nationally.

Sophomore Taylor Harrison may be their best gymnast out of the bunch. She was awarded the team MVP last year, and ranks No. 44 nationally this year on the beam with an RQS score of 9.845. She won all-around last meet with a 39.300 mark, tying her career best.

On the other hand, Bowling Green has been up and down all year. They have four scores of 193.6 or lower and have failed to achieve above a 195.5 yet this season. Look for Sundays meet to be a two-team bout between West Virginia and Ohio State as the Falcons are on the outside looking in.

After Sunday’s meet, the Mountaineers regular season will close out with home-and-home series against the archrival Pittsburgh Panthers on March 11 and March 13.

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