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February 14 2022 12:00 am

WVU begins 2022 campaign with quad meet at Towson

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WVU gymanstics coach Jason Butts (right) encourages gymnast Rachel Hornung during a meet in 2021. (Photo: Jamie Green)

The West Virginia University gymnastics team opens its 2022 slate with a quad meet at Towson with West Chester and William & Mary on Friday, Jan. 14.  The meet is set for 6 p.m. ET, inside SECU Arena in Towson, Maryland.

Friday’s action will be streamed live on Towson Sports Network with Amy Phillips, Tandy Knight and Zoey Packard on the call. Fans also can follow along with live stats available at WVUsports.com.

“We are extremely excited to finally open the season at Towson this weekend,” Mountaineer coach Jason Butts said. “We’re really looking forward to getting out there in front of the judges and showing everybody what we’ve been working so hard on. We had one of the best preseasons that we’ve ever had, so we’re excited to get back into competition.”

The Mountaineers are set to open their season on the road for the first time since 2020, as well as the third time in the last four years. West Virginia is 6-11 in season-opening meets under Butts, who enters his 11th season at the helm in Morgantown. WVU will open Friday’s meet on uneven bars, as the squad’s complete rotation order is bars, balance beam, floor exercise and vault.

Towson and WVU meet for the 38th time in program history this weekend, with the Mountaineers holding a 26-11 advantage in the all-time series. West Virginia holds a 19-0 all-time mark against William & Mary, while the Mountaineers are set to compete against West Chester for just the second time in program history. In the two teams’ lone meeting in 2016, WVU claimed a 196.225-193.475 victory over the Golden Rams.

Towson enters the meet at 1-0 after opening its season with a win over New Hampshire on Jan. 9. West Chester also is undefeated to begin the 2022 campaign, after claiming victories over Yale, Brown and LIU on Jan. 9. William & Mary will open its season at Towson on Friday.

The Mountaineers return to competition after posting a 2-7 overall record in 2021. WVU hosted the 2021 Big 12 Gymnastics Championship on March 20, in Morgantown, placing fourth with a score of 195.725.

West Virginia then went on to host the 2021 NCAA Morgantown Regional Gymnastics Championships from April 1-3. At the regional championship, the Mountaineers advanced to the second round after topping Penn State, 195.950-195.325, in the first round. The squad then placed third in the evening session of the second round, tallying 195.650 points.

Eleven of the 14 Mountaineers who saw competitive time reached the podium. WVU boasted 64 podium finishes on the year, led by senior Kendra Combs with 11 podium finishes and seven event wins. West Virginia ended the year ranked No. 28 in the Road to Nationals Rankings with a National Qualifying Score (NQS) of 391.419. The Mountaineers’ floor exercise lineup was ranked inside the top 25 every week, as the squad posted a 49.0 or higher in all but two meets.

A trio of seniors return to lead the team this season, including Esperanza Abarca, Kendra Combs and Rachel Hornung. Additionally, six newcomers – Brooke Alban, Brynn Freehling, Heidi Hartje, Anna Leigh and Laura Soltis – join the squad for the 2022 campaign.

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

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