BATON ROUGE, LA. -- The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team headed south to LSU this past weekend for a meet that was expected to be filled with some of the top collegiate gymnastics in the country. The Wildcats proved they belonged among the best after tying Michigan State with a team score of 194.125 and losing to the host team, which finished the meet with a 196.950.

UNH, now 13-3-1 on the season, had spent four consecutive weeks competing at home, and this past weekend it was time to return to the road. MSU and UNH had already met once this season, with the Wildcats narrowly edging the Spartans by .05 at their own invitational meet. This time the two teams made it even closer as they each produced identical scores.

Strong performances in three out of four events has been the trend this season for UNH and the squad hoped that trend would end on this trip. It did not, however, as the Wildcats struggled on beam, despite solid performances by senior Suzanne Poretz (Alexandria, Va.) with a 9.725 to lead the squad and senior Rose Kosowski (Whitesboro, N.Y.) with 9.7. According to head coach Gail Goodspeed, three of the counted scores in the event were sub-par for UNH and that held the UNH score down.

UNH rebounded back, to hit on the three remaining events, with floor being the highest score (49.025), a 48.475 on vault and a 48.75 on bars.

Leading the way on vault were senior Wendy Wheaton (Rockville, Md.) with a 9.775 and sophomore Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) with a 9.725.

On bars it was Wheaton (9.825) and Poretz (9.775) leading the way and strong performances on floor were turned in by Wheaton (9.85) and junior Bethany Wagner (Bound Brook, N.J.) with a 9.825.

Wheaton, who had an outstanding overall meet for the Wildcats was also celebrating her 21st birthday.

According Goodspeed, the floor judges commented that UNHís routines were the finest choreographed and performed routines they had ever seen.

The Wildcats continue their spring trip on Monday, March 12 when the squad competes at Texas Woman's University.

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