West Virginia is kicking off its season at home against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma. Because of COVID things, the Sooners will return the favor next weekend by hosting the Mountaineers in Norman.
The Mountaineers are nothing if not scrappy (I mean, their mascot is a burly musket-toting dude with a massive shaggy beard). It’s unlikely that they’ll topple the Goliath that is Oklahoma, but they’ve got a really strong crew of returners and a big and talented freshmen class that should be a lot of fun to watch. In addition to sophomore Abbie Pierson and junior Kendra Combs, keep an eye on freshman Kiana Lewis. Her Yurchenko full earned a spot on the 2020 level 10 Top 100, but she could make an immediate impact on several events.
Oklahoma is coming off a tough meet last weekend against Utah. The Sooners managed to snag the win over the Red Rocks but were noticeably rattled after a season-ending injury to freshman Audrey Lynn during warm ups. They’ll be looking to bounce back mentally more than anything else (and hopefully won’t have cause for any last-minute lineup changes this week).
New leo for West Virginia?
Rotation 1: West Virginia vault, Oklahoma bars
Ki. Yancy (WVU): Good distance on her Yurchenko full. A bit off center and has to take a hop to the side. 9.650
Thomas (OU): Nice first handstand. Blind change to straddled Jaeger, lovely. Slightly loose in bail. Drills her double layout. 9.875
M. Waldron (WVU): Powerful Yurchenko full, pops back on the landing. 9.700
LeVasseur (OU): Pretty Shaposh to bail. Doesn’t get the most height on her DLO and takes a large step back. 9.850
Lewis (WVU): Gorgeous Yurchenko full. Tons of amplitude, great form, and a definitive stick. Nice collegiate debut. 9.800
Draper (OU): Piked Jaeger, well done. Legs apart on her Pak and loses her momentum, but works through. Short on final handstand. Nice double front dismount with a small step. 9.750
Pierson (WVU): Another clean, powerful Yfull. Small hop on the landing. 9.800
R. Smith (OU): Big Ray to Pak, lovely. They keep zooming in on her hands, so no clue about handstands. We’ll assume they’re good. Whippy-pikey DLO with a small foot shuffle. 9.875
Linnen (WVU): Yhalf, pretty out of control on the landing and takes a bounding step forward. 9.625
Webb (OU): Gorgeous handstand to floaty pak. Maloney half, great. Merwin is fangirl-ing, lol. Blind change to double front half. Chest a little low and takes a small crossover step. 9.875
Collins (WVU): Y lay with a big step back. Very clean in the air, though. She’s planning on upgrading to a full.
Davis (OU): Blind change to piked Jaeger, perfect. Pak, half pirouette, absolutely pristine. Double front with a small forward step. 9.900
AFTER ONE ROTATION: Oklahoma 49.375, West Virginia 48.575
Really solid vault rotation for the Mountaineers. By Coach Jason Butts’ admission, they were being conservative, which is a smart strategy given it’s their first meet and they have a relatively small vaulting roster. Impressed by how clean they looked in the air.
Oklahoma did its usual high quality bars. Still not finding those landings just yet. Davis was again the standout.
Also, shout out to the commentators for providing insightful analysis and relevant information! Sorry, I’m still recovering from the Minnesota @ Michigan broadcast…
Rotation 2: West Virginia bars, Oklahoma vault
Davis (OU): Really nice Yfull. Raised up on her toes, but well done. 9.775
Abarca (WVU): Blind full to Geinger with some legs. Bail couldn’t see because of wonky camera work. Blind full to double tuck, very well done. Slight hop. 9.750
Stern (OU): Wow… Phenomenal stuck Y1.5, really well done. 9.875
Combs (WVU): Maloney to Pak with some leg sep on both. Pretty final handstand. A little off center on her blind full, but a gorgeous double tuck with a tiny step. 9.775
Q. Smith (OU): Clean Y full with a moderate slide step back. Not a ton of height, but nice debut. 9.750
Hornung (WVU): Hop to eagle to a close straddled Jaeger. Good bail. Shy on final handstand. Starts to lose it on her blind change, but pulls through and does a nice double tuck with tiny hop. 9.650
LeVasseur (OU): Great Y full with a small step forward. 9.900 feels a little high compared to Stern’s.
Ki. Yancey (WVU): Pretty Maloney, some feet on her Pak. Slightly shy on final handstand, but a lovely FTDL with a small hop. 9.750
Webb (OU): Dynamic Y 1.5 with a small hop. 9.850
Norris (WVU): Really shy first handstand. Blind change to piked Jaeger, lovely. Good form on bail. Handstands are noticeably short throughout. DLO landed with chest down and has to take a step forward. 9.650
Schoepfer (OU): Well done tucked Y 1.5 with a small hop forward. 9.925 is too high in relation to the other scores.
Holmes-Hackerd (WVU): Really glad to see her back in action! Pretty handstand position. Gorgeous blind change to straddled Jaeger to bail, wonderful. Slightly short on final handstand. Blind change to double tuck with a big bound forward. 9.625 feels comparatively low even with the dismount issues.
AFTER TWO ROTATIONS: Oklahoma 98.700, West Virginia 97.150
Very nice vault rotation for Oklahoma, even with the iffy rankings. Stern’s was the standout. Vaulting against West Virginia apparently agrees with her!
The Mountaineers will be pleased with that bars rotation: No major mistakes, and they’ve done a great job of cleaning up the little details since last season. If Holmes-Hackerd can get her dismount worked out, she’s going to be a showstopper.
FYI, the Mountaineer mascot is wearing a mask over his giant beard so NO EXCUSES!
Rotation 3: West Virginia beam, Oklahoma floor
Holmes-Hackerd (WVU): BEAUTIFUL full turn done en attitude derriere. Front aerial to back tuck with a tiny hip check. Hitch kick to switch split to split, good. Punch tucked front dismount with a hop. Great lead-off routine. 9.675
Draper (OU): Big bounce out of her double pike. FHS full full with soft knees, but good landings. Switch full to Popa, good position. Whip half to 1.5, well done. 9.825
Pierson (WVU): Standing front tuck with a small check, ditches the connection. Bhs pike, great. Pike to jump combo, solid. Another punch tucked full, swims a bit but it’s a stick! 9.650
Schoepfer (OU): Slides out of a big double tuck (Merwin calls it “a sort of controlled lunge”). Back 1.5 to front lay with some legs. Switch ring to wolf full, good. Slightly low chest on double pike, but a great landing. 9.850
Hornung (WVU): Wolf turn, good. Hitch kick to front aerial with a bobble. Misses the connection the first time, so redoes it to a one-armed bhs with some legs. A little short on her RO 1.5 and has to take a step back. Did a great job of keeping her cool. 9.700
Johnson (OU): Front lay to Rudi, great. Big double tuck is short and she basically front handsprings out of if (Rebecca, if you’re reading, please gif that!). Switch half to wolf full, back leg a tad shy on the former. 9.125
Combs (WVU): Front aerial to back tuck, perfect. Love the variety of acro in this lineup. Hitch kick to switch side, lovely. She’s sooo poised. Front toss to beat, solid. Open tucked front full with a teeny scoot. Excellent routine. 9.775 feels low
LaPinta (OU): Yikes, LaPinta sits her triple. Floaty front full to front lay, nice. Gogean to split full, good. Big double tuck with chest just a little down. Strong finish, though. 9.250
Linnen (WVU): Front aerial to bhs, solid. Another front aerial to switch side. Beat to switch 3/4, very nice. Slightly overrotates her full turn, but covers well. Yet another tucked front full (and I don’t hate it). Small step forward. 9.825
Webb (OU): Fhs to high double front, great. RO 1.5 to front full, lovely. Cheats her Gogean a smidge. Rudi to that rebounding straight jump, gorgeous. Webb getting things back on track for OU. 9.925
Abarca (WVU): Hitch kick to side aerial with leg up to side somi, lovely. Switch split to switch split, good position. Ha, a backward roll. RO 1.5 with a hop. 9.775
R. Smith (OU): Gorgeous double tuck to open, a little foot shuffling after the fact. Back 1.5 to front lay, great. OK, ix-nay on the KZB talk, please… Popa to wolf full, great height. Fabulous double pike to close. 9.925
AFTER THREE ROTATIONS: Oklahoma 147.475, West Virginia 145.900
Oklahoma won’t be pleased with a sub-49 floor total, but there was a lot to like in that rotation. Webb and Smith turned in their best routines of the season so far.
Holy West Virginia beam! Scores were a bit conservative, IMO, but they were very impressive, especially the back half of the lineup and especially for the first meet of the season. I’m very
Rotation 4: West Virginia floor, Oklahoma beam
Thomas (OU): Switch split mount to low beam work, good. Side somi, solid. Bhs, misses her foot and she does a weird back tuck off. Remounts and redoes the series with a small check. Switch leap to switch jump, well done. Side aerial to full, stuck. 9.150
Linnen (WVU): Linnen’s music didn’t start, so we’re just laughing and chilling in the meantime! She’s still laughing in her first pass; fhs Rudi to loso, fabulous. Switch ring to split full, legs a little low on both. double front twist to finish, well done. 9.850
Schoepfer (OU): Bhs loso with legs and she immediately pops off. Huh, this might actually be a close meet now. Side aerial to switch split to split. RO 1.5 with a small step. Wow. 9.125
Pierson (WVU): Floooaty double pike and opens too early, has to put hands down. OK, maybe it won’t be close. Front lay front full with some knees. Love her choreo. Switch side, wolf full to Shushunova. Massive double tuck and crunches the landing a bit, but much more control. 9.100
Dunn (OU): Her fun shoulder cartwheel thing. Bhs bhs loso. ROCK. SOLID. Split jump to split half, perfect. Side gainer full, stuck. Clutch routine. 9.800
Holmes-Hackerd (WVU): Floaty double tuck; chest slightly low. Switch half to switch full, slightly low. Fhs front lay front full, super clean. Love the drama of the music and choreo. Chest slightly low again on double pike to finish and a slight slide out. 9.825
Davis (OU): Highlighting her flexibility. Kicks out of her full turn, good. Bhs loso, floats it. Onodi with a large hip and leg up check. Beat to a ring with a very low front leg. RO to stuck double twist was beautiful. 9.775
Combs (WVU): Punch front to bhs double pike, fantastic. Switch side, wolf full, Popa, very dynamic. Kicks out of her hiiigh final double tuck, slides feet a little, but an excellent finish. 9.850
R. Smith (OU): Lovely bhs loso. Front aerial to straddle, well done. Beat to straddle half to Korbut, no problem. Kicks out of her full turn, too. Bhs gainer full, stuck. Great routine. 9.925
Ki. Yancey (WVU): Overrotated double pike, has to take a couple of steps but keeps it in bounds. Switch full to Popa, good. She looks really relaxed. Back 1.5 to whip half to stag jump, very cool pass. Beautiful double tuck to finish. 9.800
Webb (OU): Slightest of checks on her full turn. Bhs loso, flawless. Front aerial to beat, lovely. Switch split to switch split, fabulous. Side aerial to a stuck full. Great routine. 9.925
Asper (WVU): HUGE double pike. Lands a little crunched, but doesn’t move. She’s so much fun to watch. Back 1.5 to front lay, a little low and has to bend her knees. Switch half to Popa, very nice. Punch Rudi with some legs an with a minor slide back. She’s ecstatic. 9.575 is pretty tight, but those minor deductions added up
AFTER FOUR ROTATIONS: Oklahoma 196.050, West Virginia 194.900
Tough meet for Oklahoma with two sub-49 events, though nothing majorly concerning for its postseason prospects; people have off nights, and several happened to have off nights tonight.
West Virginia looked pretty darn good! Not only did it not have to count any falls, it bested the Sooners on both beam and floor. Who would’ve guessed? They could make things very interesting in the Big 12 rankings this season…
Live Blog by Claire Billman
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