The No. 23 West Virginia University gymnastics team picked the right time to put on their best performance of the season. In an absolutely crucial five-team road meet in Philadelphia on Friday, West Virginia scored a 196.225 and went home with a comfortable win.
The West Virginia squad has been vying for a score of 196.0+ for the entire duration of the season up to this point.
Putting up a road performance of that caliber puts the Mountaineers in a good position with only three regular season meets remaining on the schedule.
After putting up the highest road score that the program has seen in four years, head coach Jason Butts believes there is still room for improvement.
"We hit 24-for-24 and broke the 196.0 mark, but I know we still can score higher. We are peaking at the right time, and this team is riding a wave of confidence," Butts said in an interview with WVUSports.com.
The Mountaineers led off the night on the uneven bars, which proved to set the tone for the rest of the meet as the team scored a season-high 49.025.
Freshman Jaquie Tun led her team with a mark of 9.875, the highest score of her career. She placed in second overall, just behind Penn State’s junior Kiera Brown who barely edged her with a score of 9.9.
Junior Alexa Goldberg and freshman Tiara Wright both had solid of scores of 9.8 or better with 9.825 and 9.8, respectively. West Virginia placed second in bars behind the Nittany Lions, who finished with a team score of 49.125.
The Mountaineers kept the train rolling in the second rotation, putting up a team score of 48.9, their second highest score of the season and the best team score of the night.
Senior Melissa Idell continued with her dominance on beam with a career-best score of 9.9, edging her previous career best of 9.85 from last week’s battle versus Kentucky. The score of 9.9 placed her at first over all competitors on the night.
Classmate Audrey Tolbert was next in the lineup and next to put up a career-best mark with a score of 9.875, grabbing her a podium spot with the third best score of the event. Freshman Carly Galpin also put up an impressive score with a mark of 9.85, her second best of her career and fourth best in the competition.
West Virginia had a solid all-around performance in the third rotation as four gymnasts scored a 9.825, or better on the floor. The Mountaineers racked up a team total of 49.25, their best road score of the year.
Idell led off the rotation with a score of 9.875, her best score on floor this season. Freshman Kirah Koshinski also put up a score of 9.875, tying for fifth overall with her teammate.
Goldberg led the group with a mark of 9.9 in an event that she had dominated week in and week out this season.
The Mountaineers were narrowly beaten on the floor by Penn State, who recorded a team score of 49.400. The final rotation bookended an incredible night for West Virginia, where they scored a 49.05 on the vault and lead all competitors.
Koshinski scored a career high 9.925, placing her first on the podium. Sophomore Zaakira Muhammad recorded a score of 9.875, which put her next to Koshinski on the podium with a third place finish.
West Virginia had one all around competitor in Goldberg, who placed third and grabbed a podium spot against seven other gymnasts with a mark of 39.1.
The Nittany Lions’ Kiera Brown finished first overall with a score of 39.475.
This is the type of road performance that will move the Mountaineers up in the rankings, which come out Monday.
The next meet for West Virginia is at 2 p.m. March 6 in Morgantown in a tri-meet against Ohio State and Bowling Green.