The Dominion Post  

WVU sweeps dual gymnastics, wrestling meet

Created on:   Sun, Feb 18, 2018   9:20 PM

Last modified:   Sun, Feb 18, 2018   9:21 PM

For The Dominion Post

MORGANTOWN — WVU delivered a triple-threat victory with wins for gymnastics, wrestling and the fans during the Mountaineers’ Beauty and the Beast competition Feb. 18, at the WVU Coliseum.

The annual showcase, paired with WVU’s inaugural Fan Fest, allowed the 4,517 record-setting attendees to meet and greet some of their favorite WVU athletes.

Both WVU programs honored their seniors, as the Mountaineers (6-7) downed Clarion (10-7), 25-13, on the mat, and gymnastics took the tri-match with 196.225 points over border rivals Maryland (195.825) and Pitt (195.250).

WVU wrestlers captured six of the 10 weight classes, which began with two falls by
14th-ranked junior Zeke Moisey (125 weight class) and freshman Matthew Schmitt (133) to take an early 12-0 lead.

The Mountaineers had big wins from 18th-ranked senior Jake Smith (197) and freshman Nick Kiussis (165) to help complete the final regular season match with a victory much to the delight of head coach Sammie Henson.

“We asked our guys to finish strong and we’ve been gearing for this all year to finish strong as a group, and I think everyone did that tonight,” he said. “It was a great day for our 157-pounder [Hunter Jones]. He’s been a backup all year and it was nice to see a West Virginia native get his first win in Division 1. When you get guys like that to come through and get wins it proves it’s all a team effort.”

For gymnastics, WVU (7-6) won three of the four events that included vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise.

Senior Zaakira Muhammad won top results for the All-Around points with a team and personal best 39.400 points. She was second-place on the vault (9.850) and floor exercise (9.9) and third place on the balance beam (9.850).

Teammates junior Kara Koshinski, who captured first place on both vault (9.9) and floor exercise (9.925), and junior Carly Galpin, who shared first on the beam (9.875) with Pitt’s Taylor Laymon, also helped propel WVU to pick up their second and third home victory.

“Beauty and the Beast is always a big event and there are distractions with Senior Night and everything, it can get a little emotional,” head coach Jason Butts said. “We talked to them about staying focused and worry only about the things we can control. They put in the performance I knew they could put in the past few weeks. They cleaned up a lot of little things here and there, so I was thrilled with how they performed.”

Prior to the competition, fans gathered in Coliseum concourse to take pictures, get autographs and play games with the WVU football, women’s basketball, rifle, rowing, soccer, volleyball, tennis, and cheer and dance teams.

“It’s a really great experience, especially for my six-year-old son because he’s very into sports,” Morgantown resident Jessica Dalton said. “He was able to interact with athletes he looks up to, cause he comes out to their events, so to meet them and get pictures, makes him feel really connected.”

The gymnastics team will return to action Feb. 23, as it travel to face Oklahoma. Wrestling will begin the Big 12 championships in Tulsa, Okla., on March 3.