After closely trailing the Mountaineers before entering the final rotation, the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team sealed a victory with strong performances on floor against West Virginia on Saturday.
The Buckeyes posted a 49.200 on floor to tally a final score of 196.075-195.800 over West Virginia.
“Our last three kids on floor are dynamite, and so I knew they were going to have to go a 9.800 or better to win the meet,” OSU coach Carey Fagan said. “You could tell — once that momentum started building deeper in our lineup — it was going to be really hard for West Virginia to stay with us.”
In the first rotation on vault, junior Alexis Mattern scored a team-high 9.900 to take first overall in the event. Mattern also posted her second 9.900 of the night on floor.
“This is actually the first time I’ve ever done that in my career,” Mattern said. “I may not have had the highest overall scores I’ve ever had, but consistency wise, it was one of my more consistent nights, so I’m happy with it.”
In the second rotation on the uneven bars, Mattern also scored a career-high of 9.875 to take first in the event while sophomore Kaitlyn Hofland posted a 9.850 to finish in second. Senior Tenille Funches also earned a season-high of 9.825 on uneven bars.
Olivia Aepli had two false starts before completing her routine on bars for the team-low of 8.750.
“Olivia normally goes 9.900 on bars, and that’s the type of performance we need,” Fagan said. “Not everybody on the team has 9.900 potential, but the ones that do have that 9.900 potential, they have to come through. So little things like that can be frustrating.”
At the midpoint of the meet, OSU led the Mountaineers by a meager .025.
On balance beam, junior Stefanie Merkle started the lineup for OSU, posting a 9.775 to tie for third in the event with freshman Amanda Huang. Junior Taylor Harrison took first in the event with a strong score for the team of 9.875 and to tie her season-high.
“Normally, going in, being last on beam — even when somebody falls or the scores are low — I try not to let that mess with my head,” Harrison said. “I just know that when I get up there, I do what I do every single day in the gym. So today, going into that routine, I felt very confident.”
Heading into the final rotation, the Buckeyes trailed West Virginia 146.875-146.775.
The final three performers for the floor event propelled the OSU team to set them up for the win. Those included Harrison who posted a career-high of 9.875 to take third in the event behind Mattern’s 9.900, while Merkle scored a close 9.850 behind Harrison.
“I think the highlight for me was probably the last three floor routines because they knew and they could feel that the meet was on the line,” Fagan said. “And so, for them to come out and really hit really solid routines, I think it will build their confidence, and it builds the team’s confidence too.”
Mattern placed first in the all-around with a 39.375.