WVU Upends No. 14 Penn State

West Virginia's gymnastics team hadn't beaten Penn State in five years. That came to an end Saturday, as the Mountaineers used a red hot start to knock off the nation's No. 14 team.

The West Virginia University gymnastics team beat No. 14 Penn State for the first time since 2002, 195.150-193.375, Saturday before a crowd of 2,135 at Rec Hall in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions had won the five previous meetings since WVU last topped PSU in University Park in 2002, 196.425-192.75.

"We hit on our first event and got on a roll," WVU Head Coach Linda Burdette says. "It was an exciting competition. Good routines, great crowd, great opponent and we performed our best today. I am thrilled with our score."

The Mountaineers' score of 195.150 is by far the highest this season and its first score above 195 since the 2007 EAGL Championships. West Virginia opened the meet on the uneven bars and set a season-high score for the second consecutive week. Four Mountaineers set season highs on bars: Naja Johnson (9.775), Amy Bieski (9.825), Mehgan Morris (9.875) and Erica Watson (9.85) as West Virginia scored 48.95 points on bars. In the meet's individual results, Morris and Watson would take second and third, respectively.

Penn State hit on its vaults to earn a combined score of 49.025 points on its first event and take an early lead in the dual. Brandi Personett highlighted the Nittany Lions' scoresheet with a team-high 9.975, the fourth highest vault in PSU history. Penn State struggled on bars and scored just 47.200 points. West Virginia took advantage and jumped out in front of PSU by a point and a half, 97.725-96.225, to lead through two events. WVU's vault lineup totaled 48.775 points, also a season best, behind a 9.85 from Chelsi Tabor and 9.775s from Watson and Bieski. Tabor placed second in the individual results.

West Virginia increased its lead to over two points, 146.550-144.325, during the third rotation. The Mountaineers tallied 48.825 points on floor, while the Nittany Lions totaled just 48.100 points on beam. WVU had top routines from Morris (9.875) and Shelly Purkat (9.825), as well as a career-high 9.9 from Bieski. Bieski tied for first place on floor. WVU finished the meet strong with 48.600 points on beam. Purkat tied for first with a 9.825 and Kiersten Spoerke hit for a 9.8 to place third.

Morris placed second in the all-around with a career-high 39.075 points behind PSU's Alexandra Brockway (39.125). WVU's Johnson and Watson each had big days, despite competing in just their second meet this season.

West Virginia (5-5, 2-0 EAGL) returns to action against SEC powers No.16 Auburn and No. 7 LSU in Baton Rouge, La., on Feb. 8, at 7 p.m.


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