DENVER - The No. 22 University of Denver gymnastics squad upset No. 9 Oregon State and Texas Woman's, posting a season-high 196.725 on Saturday night at Hamilton Gymnasium. OSU finished with a 196.325 and TWU tallied a 193.650. With the victory, Denver improved its Regional Qualifying Score to 195.755.
"It was a complete and total team effort tonight," head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart said. "What was impressive is we went 24-for-24 for the first time this season and we set our season-high."
After tying a school-record last Monday (49.425) at Air Force, the Pioneers Vault corps combined for a 49.050 on Saturday in the opening rotation. For the 10th time this season, Martin led the way on Vault with her eighth score of 9.900 or higher. Martin's 9.900 clinched her sixth Vault title of the 2012 campaign. Sophomore Kaitlin Moorhead (Palo Alto, Calif.) added a 9.825 in the opening rotation. The team score was DU's seventh Vault score of 49.000 or higher this season. The Beavers held a slight 0.075 point lead over the Pioneers after the first rotation.
In the second rotation, the Pioneers put together six consistent performances on Bars to combine for a 49.075: their second-highest team score of the season. A quartet of Pioneers finished with scores above 9.800. Senior Louise Mercer (Nottingham, England) led the pack with a 9.875, and junior Simona Castro (Santiago, Chile), Martin and Pulgarin Linero each turned in matching scores of 9.825. OSU's Olivia Vivian won the Bars event with a 9.950. Despite the solid performance in rotation two, the Pioneers still found themselves trailing by 0.125 heading into the third rotation.
Sophomore Jorie Hall (Denver, Colo.) led the Pioneers to their highest Beam score of the season with a career-high 9.925 in the third rotation, eclipsing the 9.900 that she set at both Regionals in Magness Arena last season and in a meet against Air Force and Centenary College on Jan. 28. With the score, Hall won her second Beam title of the season. Freshman Ellese Sakai-Hart (Aptos, Calif.) kick-started the DU Beam crew with a career-high 9.825, Castro added a 9.800 and Pulgarin Linero also tied a career-high with a 9.850. After posting a season-high 49.225, Denver entered the final rotation tied with Oregon State at 147.350.
With the scores all knotted up, the Pioneers rose to the occasion and delivered a season-high 49.375 on Floor to close the deal. Mercer led all gymnasts with a career-high 9.925, Martin finished her All-Around night with a 9.900, Pulgarin Linero tallied a 9.875, Hall posted a 9.850 and Moorhead inked a 9.825. Mercer won a share of her second Floor title of the season. Oregon State combined for a 48.975, and the Pioneers found themselves on top by 0.4 points to win the meet.
DU will host No. 18 Minnesota, No. 23 Arizona State and Iowa on Senior Day next Saturday at 6 p.m. MT in Magness Arena. The Pioneers will honor Mercer, their lone 2012 senior, after the meet.