MORGANTOWN — Jaquie Tun didn’t mind when her WVU gymnastics teammates dog piled on her in celebration after her 9.8 bars routine in a March 10 meet, at Florida, last season.
She was just happy to be back competing for the Mountaineers.
“It was like, ‘OK, I’m back now,’ ” said Tun, who survived the dog pile. “It was such a nice feeling.”
The then-sophomore from Chattanooga, Tenn., hadn’t competed since the 2016 NCAA regionals after suffering the second fractured patella of her career.
“I broke my first one my senior year of high school,” Tun said. “Having to compensate for that, it put a lot of pressure on the other kneecap, so that one ended up giving out as well. It was a mixture of pounding on it, and it just kind of broke.”
Tun turned in solid performances on bars in the final two meets of the season, scoring a 9.75 at the Big 12 championships and a 9.85 at the NCAA Morgantown Regional.
Her ability to come back at the end of the season and contribute to the Mountaineers’ efforts made all the hours of rehabilitation worth it.
“It was pretty hard at first, but I always had the team and my coaches to back me up,” Tun said. “It was nice to be out there with my team still and cheer them on and be supportive. It wasn’t that bad.”
Tun earned spots in the bars and vault lineups heading into this season.
Her first collegiate vault in the Jan. 5 opener, against Florida, resulted in a 9.45, but she rebounded in Sunday’s meet versus Arizona State, registering a 9.775.
She also boosted her bars score from a 9.775 to a 9.85, good for second place overall.
Tun’s work impressed WVU coach Jason Butts, who hinted she could enter more lineups in the future.
“Talk about a positive kid who fought back and did amazing last year toward the end of the year,” Butts said. “To come in this year hitting like she’s hitting is awesome. She had a great vault (Sunday), great bars. She is right there on floor.
“Her floor routine is a knockout. We updated a lot of her passes. We’re just trying to make sure we don’t push too fast. Her beam is looking great. Clearly, she put up two great scores (Jan. 14). She could be on floor maybe as early as next week.”
WVU senior Zaakira Muhammad maintains a deep respect for what Tun has accomplished because she understands what she’s been through.
“Having Jaquie back is great,” Muhammad said. “Coming back, she is 10 times stronger than she was coming in the door. Seeing her motivated and seeing her drive to get to every event is nice. It’s nice to know that she will be able to take a spot on an event and be able to put up a score.”
Tun is thankful for the opportunity to do just that.
“I really do like the position I’m in and the position my team is in,” said Tun, whose Mountaineers (0-2) are 18th in the Road to Nationals Rankings, released Jan. 15. “I think we’re going to do really great this season.”
NOTE: Junior Tiara Wright is out for the season with a shoulder injury. She competed in bars, beam and floor her first two seasons. “Her recovery is going great,” Butts said. “If she had her way, we could probably rush and get her in there, but we don’t want to chance it. She has become a de facto student coach in the gym and on the floor at competitions. The team is really relying on her and her calm approach to competition. She is playing a huge part in the team even though she is not going got be able to compete this year.”