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Gymnastics Opens 2016 at Home on Saturday

Jan. 8, 2016

DENVER – The No. 16-ranked University of Denver women’s gymnastics opens its 2016 campaign with a home meet on Saturday, January 9, at 6 p.m. in Hamilton Gymnasium. The Pioneers will compete against No. 24 Southern Utah and Big 12 opponent No. 31 West Virginia.

MEET #1: No. 16 Denver (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. No. 24 Southern Utah (0-0, 0-0 MRGC) & No. 31 West Virginia (0-0, 0-0 Big 12)

Date and Time: Saturday, January 9, at 6 p.m. MT
Location: Hamilton Gymnasium/2,500 (Denver, Colo.)

Tickets: Buy Tickets
Live Stats: Denver live stats
Meet Info: Denver meet notes | SUU meet notes | WVU meet notes
Facebook: /DenverGymnastics | /DenverPioneers
Twitter: @DU_Gymnastics | @DU_Pioneers
Instagram: @DU_Gymnastics | @DenverPioneers

ABOUT DENVER

The Pioneers are led by head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart in her 18th season. Under Kutcher-Rinehart, DU has qualified to 17 consecutive NCAA Regionals and is seeking its fourth trip to the NCAA National Championships.

Denver enters the 2016 season ranked No. 16 in the Preseason Coaches Poll, the team’s highest preseason ranking since 2011. DU finished 2015 ranked No. 15 nationally, its highest finish since 2010.

Returning for her fifth and final season is two-time All-American Nina McGee (Cincinnati, Ohio), who tied for second on floor at the 2015 NCAA National Championships. McGee also finished No. 11 in the all-around at last year’s NCAA Nationals.

In addition to McGee’s routines, DU will look to several returning student-athletes for their line-ups, including seniors Katie Menhinick (Paramus, N.J.), Emily Barrett (Norman, Okla.) and Maggie Laughlin (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Juniors Rachel Fielitz (Walden, N.Y.) and Julia Ross (Henderson, Nev.), and sophomores Nikole Addison (Fort Myers, Fla.) and Claire Hammen (Loveland, Colo.) will also look to contribute to the Pioneers’ line-ups in 2016.

DU welcomes four freshmen to its 2016 roster: Grace Broadhurst (Broomfield, Colo.), Diana Chesnok (Charlotte, N.C.), Claire Kern (Charlotte, N.C.) and Kaitlyn Schou (Orlando, Fla.).

“BIG” CONFERENCE CHANGE IN 2016

The 2016 season will be DU’s first as an affiliate member of the Big 12 Conference. Denver joins Iowa State, Oklahoma and West Virginia, and will compete for the 2016 Big 12 Championship on March 19 at a neutral site in Frisco, Texas.

The Pioneers will compete against conference opponents twice during the regular season, starting with Saturday’s meet against West Virginia. DU will also see Oklahoma at the Perfect 10 Challenge on February 12 in Oklahoma City.

COACHING STAFF UPDATES

For the 18th season, the Pioneers are led by head coach Melissa Kutcher-Rinehart. After three seasons with the team, Linas Gaveika was promoted to associate head coach during the offseason. Robert Ladanyi joins the coaching staff in 2016 as assistant coach, coming to Denver after 10 years and three consecutive NCAA National Championships with Florida.

LAST TIME OUT

Denver concluded its 2015 season at NCAA Regionals in Ames, Iowa, placing third with a team total of 195.950, the team’s highest Regionals score in five years. McGee tied for second in the all-around, qualifying her to the NCAA National Championships.

McGee also finished tied for first on bars and third on floor at Regionals, while Rachel Fielitz also finished tied for third on vault.

ABOUT SOUTHERN UTAH

The Thunderbirds advanced to NCAA Regionals to finish up their 2015 season, finishing third at the Norman Regional with a score of 196.275. Two Southern Utah student-athletes qualified to NCAA Nationals: Jamie Armijo (bars) and Ana Jaworski (beam). SUU finished 2015 ranked No. 16 and is ranked No. 24 in the Preseason Coaches Poll.

SUU’s head coach Scott Bauman will be in his 25th season in 2016. After both of the team’s NCAA Nationals qualifiers graduated, the team will look to juniors Tyly Bozzuto, Danielle Ramirez and Stacie Webb, as well as two freshmen.

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA

The Mountaineers hosted NCAA Regionals in 2015, finishing fifth overall with a team total of 195.650. Their final ranking in 2015 was No. 28, and they begin 2016 ranked No. 31 in the Preseason Coaches Poll.

WVU is led by head coach Jason Butts in his fifth season. The team is led by seniors Jaida Lawrence and Melissa Idell, junior Alexa Goldberg and sophomore Jordan Gillette. Six freshmen join the Mountaineers in 2016.

THE MATCH-UP

This will be the 12th meeting between Denver and West Virginia, with DU leading the all-time head-to-head record 6-5-0. The team’s last met in Morgantown, W. Va., in 2015 where DU won 195.425-194.600.

Denver and Southern Utah will face off for the 37th time. DU leads head-to-head 24-12-0. Their last meeting was at the 2015 MRGC Championships where SUU edged DU 196.275-196.075.

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