CHAPEL HILL, N.C.-The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team earned two of the most coveted honors given at the annual East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Awards dinner. Senior all-arounder Suzanne Poretz (Alexandria, Va.) was named EAGL Co-Gymnast Of The Year and sophomore Jen Dickson (Salisbury, Md.) was named the EAGL Rookie Of The Year in her first season of competition for the Wildcats.
Poretz, who was one UNH's highest scoring and most consistent all-around performers in 2001, has posted some impressive season-highs so far during this campaign, including marks of 9.725 on vault, 9.850 on bars, 9.875 on beam and 9.875 in the floor exercise. Her top all-around score of the season and her career-high of 39.225 at UNH's own Fox Run Invitational was the best by any Wildcat gymnast in 2001 and ranked second on UNH's all-time individual all-around listing. Her season-high marks on vault, bars, beam and floor all equaled or bested her previous personal bests. She was also named to the first-team All-EAGL All-Around squad and was named All-EAGL first-team on beam as well.
Poretz is especially strong on beam and it showed this year as her mark of 9.875 tied the team lead this season and tied her for second in the UNH all-time record books.
Consistency has also been the story during her four-year career with UNH gymnastics. Named a Gymnast of the Week in 2000, Poretz was also selected to the second-team All-EAGL squad in 1999 and 2000, and was a first-team selection in 1998. She was also the recipient of UNH's own Most Improved Gymnast Award in 2000.
Dickson, who started her career as a walk-on with the Wildcats, struggled with injury during her freshman year, but recovered nicely for head coach Gail Goodspeed and pleasantly surprised everyone with her poise and skill after injury. In the first meet of the season vs. Rutgers. Dickson was the top all-arounder for the 'Cats with an impressive four-event total of 38.750. She finished the day with a 9.725 on vault, a 9.525 on bars, a 9.725 on beam and a 9.775 in the floor exercise. Since that afternoon meeting vs. the Scarlet Knights, Dickson has been a key performer for the Wildcats. Here is a look at some of her other all-around numbers: 38.250 (Brown and Bridgeport; 38.575 at LSU; 38.450 at Texas Woman's; 38.450 vs. Towson; 38.850 at the For Run Invitational; 38.950 vs. Rhode Island; 38.350 at Penn State; and a 38.525 at North Carolina State.
Looking at her season/career-highs, Dickson ranks right there among the top gymnasts in the EAGL with a 9.750 on vault, 9.825 on bars, 9.850 on beam, 9.825 in the floor exercise and the 38.350 in the all-around vs. Rhode Island.
Both of these gymnasts have also excelled in the classroom this season, and as a result, were recently named to the 2001 EAGL All-Academic squad. That means both gymnasts have posted GPAs of 3.0 or higher over the past two semesters.
What makes their accomplishments in and out of the gym even more impressive is the fact that they have done all of this despite the loss of teammate Katie Baldwin in the fall after she collapsed due to a pulmonary embolism. The Katie Baldwin Gymnastics Spirit Award was created following her death and Poretz went on to win the honor following her performance.
In addition to the prestigious awards earned by Poretz and Dickson, three other UNH gymnasts were named to the All-EAGL squad in certain events. Senior Rose Kosowski (Whitesboro, N.Y.) was named second-team All-EAGL at the 2001 banquet in the all-around and second-team in the floor exercise. Sophomore Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) was named second-team All-EAGL in the vault and senior Wendy Wheaton (Rockville, Md.) was selected to the All-EAGL squads on bars (first-team) and in the floor exercise (second-team).
All of these gymnasts are in the midst of the gymnastics post season. On Saturday, March 24 they and their teammates will compete at the EAGL Conference Championships, starting at 6 p.m. Then, on Monday, the official invitations to the NCAA Northeast Regionals at the University of Michigan will be handed out and UNH will likely be one of those six teams.
Should the Wildcats finish in either of the top two spots at the Regionals, then the squad would travel to the University of Georgia on April 19-21 to compete in the 12-team NCAA national championship.