MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – For the ninth consecutive week, the West Virginia University gymnastics team ranks inside the top 25 on floor exercise in the Road to Nationals Rankings.
The Mountaineers’ (2-7, 0-6 Big 12) floor lineup checks in at No. 25 with a National Qualifying Score (NQS) of 49.256. This week’s rankings are the fourth of the season based on NQS. Due to the limited number of meets for some teams in 2021, an NQS is calculated by taking a team’s top four scores instead of six. The top four scores, two of which must be from road meets, will be averaged and no score will be dropped.
West Virginia is coming off a 49.0+ performance at the Big 12 Championship on March 20, posting a 49.275 showing to mark its second-best floor total of the season. WVU registered a season-high score of 49.3 against its regional rival Pitt on March 5. Of note, the squad has posted a 49.0 or higher in all but two meets this season.
Individually, a trio of Mountaineers rank inside the top 100 nationally on floor, paced by junior Kendra Combs, who is tied at No. 71 with an NQS of 9.888. Sophomore Abbie Pierson and freshman Kiana Lewis are tied at No. 94 with a matching NQS of 9.875.
Regionally, the Mountaineers rank No. 6 in the Southeast for the third straight week with an NQS of 195.769. The team sits as high as No. 3 on floor. WVU also checks in at No. 6 on the uneven bars (48.925 NQS) and balance beam (49.088 NQS) events. Additionally, the Mountaineers are tied at No. 7 on vault with an NQS of 48.881.
Six WVU gymnasts are regionally ranked in the top 25 of the floor rankings.
Combs leads the team and is tied at No. 7 on floor, while Pierson and Lewis round out the top 10. Sophomore Emily Holmes-Hackerd comes in at No. 23 (9.856 NQS), followed by senior McKenna Linnen and sophomore Kianna Yancey, who are tied at No. 25 with an NQS of 9.844.
On beam, freshman Chloe Asper paces WVU and is tied at No. 18 with an NQS of 9.838. Linnen checks in at No. 20 (9.831 NQS), followed by junior Rachel Hornung, who sits in a four-way tie at No. 21 (9.825 NQS). Pierson completes the top 25 with an NQS of 9.819.
Additionally, Lewis is tied at No. 20 on vault (9.838 NQS), and junior Esperanza Abarca is tied at No. 23 on bars (9.825 NQS).
The Mountaineers rank No. 4 overall in the Big 12 Conference. WVU ranks as high as No. 3 on floor and is No. 4 on vault, bars and beam. Individually, Combs sits at No. 10 on floor.
The 2021 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championships regional selections were announced on Monday, and West Virginia, who is tied at No. 35 nationally with Western Michigan, will compete in the play-in round of the Morgantown Regional, inside the WVU Coliseum, on Thursday, April 1, at 3 p.m. ET.
Joining the Mountaineers at the Morgantown Regional are No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 California, No. 12 BYU, No. 13 UCLA, Kent State, Ohio State, Penn State and Towson.
Under the new NCAA regional format, four meets will be held in three days. West Virginia faces Penn State in a dual meet on Thursday, starting at 3 p.m. ET.
Friday’s competition gets underway at 1 p.m., featuring the Golden Bears, the Cougars, the Buckeyes and the Tigers. The winner of Thursday afternoon’s matchup will advance to Friday’s second session and face the Wolverines, the Bruins and the Golden Flashes at 7 p.m. The top-two teams from each second-round meet will advance to the regional final, which will be held on Saturday, April 3, at 7 p.m.
Due to ongoing COVID-19 protocols, and for the overall safety of spectators at indoor events, attendance will be capped at approximately 2,700 spectators. Priority will be given to families and guests of the gymnasts and gymnastics coaching staffs, along with a limited number of WVU students and fans.
Fans can purchase tickets by visiting WVUGAME.com, calling 1-800-WVU-GAME or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office, located at the Gold Gate of the WVU Coliseum. Tickets are $8 each on Thursday, $10 each on Friday and $12 each on Saturday. A limited number of WVU students will be admitted for free with a valid Student I.D. for sessions that feature the WVU gymnastics team. The ticket office, as well as the Gold Gate, opens an hour before competition.