DENVER – The No. 18 University of Denver gymnastics squad improves its unbeaten streak at home to 15 after defeating Air Force 195.800-192.400. The Pioneers improve to 3-1 on the season, while the Falcons drop to 1-3.
“I was really pleased with tonight’s competition,” head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said. “We set some specific goals for this meet and it was fun to watch the athletes achieve those goals. We’re getting stronger and improving each and every meet.”
The Pioneers began the evening with a 48.925 on vault, which ties their team season-high on the event. Senior Moriah Martin (Lake Mary, Fla.), who received a 10.0 on vault last season, led the team with a season-high 9.900. Junior Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio) earned a 9.775 on her first-career vault with the Pioneers. Senior Kaitlin Moorhead (Palo Alto, Calif.) brought in a matching 9.775 and freshman Julia Ross (Henderson, Nev.) added a 9.750. The Pioneers swept the podium with their top three scores.
On bars, three Pioneers tied or beat their career-high, finishing with a 48.825, which is a team-high for the season. Martin earned a 9.900, a personal best and the individual event title, with sophomore Rachel Feeken (Tampa, Fla.) posting a 9.750 and Ross a 9.725, which are both career-high’s. Senior Melodie Pulgarin Linero (Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain) followed Martin with a 9.800, good enough for a second place finish, and sophomore Maggie Laughlin (Scottsdale, Ariz.) earned a 9.625 to finish out the bars line-up.
Entering the third rotation, Denver led Air Force 97.750-95.925 and kept the momentum strong, finish with a 49.000 on floor. McGee earned her second individual floor title of the season with a 9.900 and senior Jorie Hall (Denver, Colo.) added a 9.850 to finish second. Moorhead inked a 9.800, her second consecutive 9.800 on floor, to earn a third place finish. Sophomore Katie Menhinick (Paramus, N.J.) and Martin brought in matching 9.725’s to add to the Pioneers total.
Hall posted the highest beam score of the night, earning a 9.875. McGee followed with a 9.825 and Pulgarin Linero added a 9.800. Martin and Ross pulled in two 9.775’s and freshman Leah Lomonte (Katy, Texas) earned a 9.750 for the Pios. Denver finished the meet with a 49.050 on beam.
For the first time this season, Denver added Martin on the floor to make her an all-around contender (39.325) and for the first time in her career, McGee, who was added to the vault line-up, was an all-rounder (38.425). On three events, the Pioneers earned the top four scores, as well as the top five on floor and top six on beam. As a team, the squad inked its best scores of the season on every event.
The Pioneers will travel to BYU to take on the Cougars next Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.
All tickets can be purchased by calling (303) 871-4625, in person at the Ritchie Center Box Office or online at DenverPioneers.com.
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