Jan. 10, 2013
Pitt's season opens on Friday night as the Panther gymnastics team hosts West Virginia at 7 p.m. at Fitzgerald Field House.
"We are looking forward to the start of the season and feel ready to go," said Head Coach Debbie Yohman. "For the most part, our returners are new and improved. Alyssa (Adrian), our sole senior, has trained hard to join the all-around ranks. Juniors Kori (Macdonald) and Katie (O'Rourke) both return from surgeries and Brittney (Harris) will join them shortly.
"Sophomore Haley Sedgewick has upgraded her events to emerge as a stronger all-arounder and we have two freshmen who will be competing in the all-around -- Lisa Soto and Lindsay Offutt. Lisa impresses us as a clutch competitor and Lindsay is a little dynamo.
Yohman continued: "We will be depending on our specialists to deliver improved scores. Alexa (Riech), Maya (Ketner) and Bri (Hogan) will all compete, as will freshman Laura Kummerle. Two other freshmen -- Jacqueline (Lucci) and Nicole (Pearson) will have opportunities to earn positions, but will start the season in an exhibition spot.
"Unfortunately, we lost two talented all-arounders for the year in Haley Bodenheimer and Maebelle Pacheco. But the amazing thing this year has been how our lineup continues to evolve. We've had any number of potential lineups due to the veterans upping their standards, freshmen challenging, kids returning from injury and making successful comebacks and people stepping up. Even with the losses, no one can take their spot for granted and anyone standing still gets passed by. So, I expect our lineup to evolve, depending on how hungry we stay. There will be room for improvement as we're not quite 100 percent, but we're sure looking forward to getting started!"
Pitt and WVU have spent many years competing together in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League, but the Mountaineers will enter Pittsburgh on Friday representing the Big XII. The last time the teams met was last season, also in Fitzgerald Field House, at the EAGL Championships when the Mountaineers claimed the tournament title and the Panthers scored the seventh-best score in school history with a 195.375 to take fifth.
The meet can be viewed live online on Panthers All-Access and the re-broadcast will be shown on Pitt Panthers Television (Comcast channels 188 or 210 locally) on Sunday at both 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.