The West Virginia University gymnastics team is set to open its home and conference slates on Friday, Jan. 21, as it welcomes defending Big 12 champion Denver to Morgantown. Action inside the WVU Coliseum is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET.
Friday is Dollar Day, with tickets and select concessions available for $1 each. It’s also the first of two Friday Night Happy Hours planned for the season, as the concession stands will offer half-priced drinks from 6-7 p.m. Friday’s meet also is Mountaineer Kids Club Day, and MKC members can pick up their t-shirts at the meet.
Friday also features special appearances by Mr. Twister, the face-painting and balloon animal artist, and Musket, the Mountaineer Kids Club’s mascot. Additionally, there will be a foam finger giveaway for the first 500 fans through the gates.
Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets in advance by visiting WVUGAME.com or calling 1-800-WVU GAME to avoid lines at the gate on meet day.
Face masks are strongly encouraged at WVU Athletics venues during public events.
Michael Minnich and Julia Merwin will have the call of Friday night’s meet on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For more information, or to sign up for the digital platform, visit WVUsports.com/Big12Now. Live stats also are available at WVUsports.com.
“We’re looking forward to being back in the Coliseum on Friday night after opening up on the road this past weekend,” 11th-year coach Jason Butts said. “We’re excited to welcome a talented Big 12 opponent in Denver to begin our home season. It will also be a good opportunity to fix some of the mistakes we had this past weekend, so I know the team is ready to get back out there and put up the kind of score that we expect from ourselves.”
WVU and the Pioneers will meet for the 19th time in program history on Friday, as Denver owns a 13-5 all-time series advantage and is 9-1 against the Mountaineers since joining the league in 2016. The two teams last met on Feb. 21, 2021, with Denver capturing a 196.550-195.350 victory at Magness Arena in Denver. West Virginia’s last win over the Pioneers took place on Jan. 29, 2017, when the squad claimed a 196.3-195.9 victory in Morgantown.
Denver enters the competition with a 2-0 overall mark this season, coming off a 196.600-195.750 victory over then-No. 17 Ohio State on Jan. 15.
In this week’s Road to Nationals rankings, WVU is tied with Oklahoma for No. 4 on floor exercise (49.325 avg.), while the squad is tied with Kentucky for No. 18 on beam (48.875 avg.). The Mountaineers’ No. 4 ranking on floor exercise marks the team’s highest since at least 1998 in the Road to Nationals Rankings. The last time West Virginia appeared inside the organization’s top five was on March 19, 2001, when the squad was ranked No. 5 nationally on floor. Additionally, WVU’s appearance at No. 18 in this week’s beam rankings is the team’s highest since ranking No. 19 on Jan. 25, 2021.
Friday will be a tight battle between the Mountaineers and Pioneers on floor exercise, as both teams rank inside the top 10 on the event. UD ranks No. 9 with a 49.213 average. Denver’s Lynzee Brown sits atop the conference with a floor season average of 9.938, while junior Abbie Pierson follows just behind in third (9.9 avg.).
Last week, WVU placed second in its season-opening quad meet at Towson with West Chester and William & Mary in Towson, Maryland, on Jan. 14. The squad recorded a total score of 194.000 to top West Chester (192.600) and William & Mary (192.010), while the host Tigers claimed the top spot with 194.150. The Mountaineers claimed 11 total podium finishes on the night, including event wins from senior Rachel Hornung on the all-around (39.1), Pierson (9.825) on vault and floor exercise (9.9) and sophomore Kiana Lewis, who tied for first with Pierson on floor.