Mountaineers Travel to No. 3 Michigan for Regular-Season Finale


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University gymnastics team (13-3, 0-2 Big 12) prepares to conclude the regular season with a trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete against No. 3 Michigan and No. 5 Auburn on Saturday, March 12. Competition inside the Crisler Center is tabbed for 4 p.m. ET.
 
Saturday’s action will be streamed live on B1G+, while fans also can follow along with live stats available at SidearmStats.com.
 
“I am always excited to make the trip to Ann Arbor, but this season especially with both Michigan and Auburn competing with us,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “There is going to be some amazing gymnastics happening Saturday afternoon, and we are ready to showcase WVU gymnastics in a high-energy atmosphere. The team has been training and competing very consistently, and I am expecting a strong performance this weekend.”
 
Overall, Michigan holds a 20-4 all-time advantage in the series, with WVU’s last win over the Wolverines coming in 2004. The two teams last met in 2021 at the NCAA Morgantown Regional on April 2, in Morgantown. Michigan took first place in the regional final, while the Mountaineers placed third. The Wolverines then went on to win their first NCAA championship title in program history.
 
Michigan enters Saturday’s tri-meet with a 12-1 record on the year, boasting a 197.950 National Qualifying Score (NQS). Of note, Michigan coach Bev Plocki competed as a member of the WVU gymnastics team from 1985-87, leading West Virginia to three NCAA Regional Championships appearances. Plocki was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.
 
West Virginia and Auburn meet for the 11th time on Saturday, with the Tigers holding a 6-4 advantage in the series. The two teams last met in 2012, and WVU claimed a 195.175-193.65 victory in Morgantown. Auburn comes into the weekend with a 10-2-1 overall record this season, owning a NQS of 197.650.

In this week’s Road to Nationals rankings, WVU ranks No. 16 on floor exercise with a 49.345 NQS. Individually, senior Kendra Combs sits in a tie for No. 37 nationally on floor with a 9.900 NQS, while junior Abbie Pierson is just behind her in a tie for No. 44 (9.895 NQS).

 

Regionally, the Mountaineers rank No. 6 in the Southeast with a NQS of 196.085, their first team NQS of 196.000 or higher since March 26, 2018. The team sits at No. 2 on floor and No. 6 on balance beam (48.965 NQS) and vault (48.995 NQS). WVU also checks in at No. 7 on the uneven bars (48.930 NQS).

 

Combs sits at No. 4 in the individual regional rankings on floor. She is followed by Pierson at No. 6, while junior Kianna Yancey, sophomore Kiana Lewis and freshman Anna Leigh are tied for No. 14 in the region with matching 9.855 National Qualifying Scores.

 

In the Mountaineers’ home finale on March 6, WVU used event wins on balance beam and floor exercise to tally a come-from-behind, 196.250-195.400 victory over Ball State inside the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia put together another big performance on floor exercise, with all five scoring gymnasts tallying a 9.85 or better to earn a 49.325 total on the event.

 

Yancey paced WVU against Ball State, notching a pair of podium finishes, including a share of first place on floor after recording a career-best 9.9 to anchor the lineup. Pierson also recorded a pair of podium appearances, while six other Mountaineers added one podium finish apiece. Senior Rachel Hornung was the Mountaineers’ lone competitor in the all-around, as she finished in second place with a career-high matching 39.175.

 

For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUGymnastics on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.





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