In this series, we're getting to know the incoming freshman class for each team. Here's a breakdown of the new additions West Virginia has made for next year.
West Virginia comes off a season in which they finished third at the Big 12 Championships and just got edged out at regionals. The Mountaineers sent Zaakira Muhammad to the NCAA championships where the sophomore finished with a 39.0375. Kirah Koshinski narrowly missed qualifying for the NCAA championships after finishing second on floor exercise with a 9.925. Koshinski and Muhammad will be the program's foundation in 2018.
Outgoing: Brooklyn Doggette, Alexa Goldberg
The Mountaineers lose up to six routines from their two seniors. Goldberg appeared in the all-around lineup seven times during the 2017 season and was a solid and consistent contributor on vault, uneven bars, and balance beam. She posted a season-best 9.925 on uneven bars at regionals. Doggette contributed on balance beam in 11 meets this season. She contributed on uneven bars in previous years as well.
Incoming: Jessie Bastardi, McKenna Linnen, Sydney Marler, Michelle Waldron
Jessie BastardiState College, Pennsylvania
Trains at Centre Elite Gymnastics
Coached by Jen Bundy
Bastardi is a two-time J.O. national championship qualifier. She earned eighth on uneven bars at the 2016 J.O. nationals and finished in the top 20 on balance beam in 2017. Bastardi was the 2017 Pennsylvania state champion on both the uneven bars and balance beam. She earned bronze in the all-around and was fifth on vault. She placed fifth in the all-around and on bars and finished fourth on beam at the Region 7 championships. Bastardi also earned a state title on uneven bars in 2016.
Impact event: Uneven bars
Sydney MarlerNew Port Richey, Florida
Trains at Suncoast Gymnastics Academy
Coached by Arnold Gwinn
Marler is a six-time Region 8 qualifier and competed at the national level three times. She was the 2013 J.O. NIT champion on uneven bars and earned bronze on bars at the 2015 J.O. National Championships. Marler earned silver on the uneven bars at the 2016 Florida state championships where she also finished fourth in the all-around and fifth on vault, beam, and floor. She picked up silver on beam and bronze on bars at the 2015 Region 8 championships and a silver on bars at the Region 8 championships in 2013.
Video courtesy of Suncoast Gymnastics
Impact events: Uneven bars and balance beam
McKenna LinnenCanton, Michigan
Trains at Gym America
Linnen earned fifth on balance beam and tied for 16th on uneven bars at the 2017 J.O. National Championships. She was the Region 5 beam champion in 2017 where she also picked up silver on floor exercise and bronze in the all-around. She earned silver on balance beam and in the all-around at the 2017 Michigan state championships and grabbed a bronze on floor and a fifth-place finish on uneven bars. Linnen won back-to-back bronze medals on balance beam at regionals in 2015 and 2016. She has beautiful lines on beam and an interesting front aerial-front aerial series.
Video courtesy of Region 5 Gymnastics Insider
Impact event: Balance beam
Michelle WaldronSagamore Beach, Massachusetts
Trains at Cape Cod Gymnastics Center
Waldron earned fifth place on vault at the 2016 J.O. National Championships and was the 2016 Region 6 vault champion. At regionals in 2016, she also picked up bronze on balance beam, fifth in the all-around, and sixth on uneven bars. Waldron is a two-time silver medalist at the Massachusetts state championships in 2015 and 2016. She also was the Region 6 silver medalist on vault in 2014. Waldron competed a Yurchenko full during the 2016 season and will be an excellent addition to the Mountaineers' lineup there.
Video courtesy of Michelle Waldron
Impact event: Vault