Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Gym Countdown #20: West Virginia

Because I think utterly blind prognostications and predictions are fun, I thought I would countdown my top 20 teams for the 2009-10 season ala the New York Times' quad countdown for college football. Unlike the Times I will only do one a week rather than every day as I don't have time to compile statistics for every single team every single day between now and the start of the season.

So let's get the ball rolling with number 20: West Virginia

2008-09 Recap
The Mountaineers opened with losses to UGA, Michigan State, and Iowa. They had strong showings in their next few meets but were then blown out by Oklahoma and Missouri in a quad meet where WVU finished third, in front of only Brown. They then managed to take 2 of their final three of the regular season, losing only to Penn St. a team that would be nationals bound.

Unfortunately West Virginia did not have their strongest showing in the post season. They lost the EAGL championship to the Wolfpack of NC State and in a tough outing at regionals WVU landed in fourth behind UGA, Penn St, and Nebraska to end their season.

2010 Season Outlook
I toiled a great deal over this last (or first depending on how you look at it) spot. A lot of teams could easily fit in here so really it was just a gut feeling that made the final decision. While I don't know if I will be expecting West Virginia to make a run at nationals, I do expect them to keep pace with what they have been doing and hopefully improve. Their biggest hurdle will be replacing all-arounder Mehgan Morris who may be the best gymnast in the program's history. The Mountaineers will be looking for leadership from junior all-arounder Amy Bieski. The team also has some solid freshman recruits coming in to round out the line-up.

Last year's average score for WVU was 194.934 and their top score of the year came in their loss to Penn St with a 195.925. This team will be looking to improve on both of those figures in 2010. The Mountaineers should have continued strength on the vault where Sr. Chelsi Tabor leads them with consistent scores of 9.9 or higher. Like many college squads West Virginia's nemesis is the beam. Last year they never broke 49 as a team and tended to hang out at 48.5 or lower. They'll need to make a big move on this event if they want to make a break towards nationals.


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