DURHAM, N.H.-The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team (15-3-1 overall) was officially invited to compete in the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Tournament. The announcement was made today by the NCAA.
A total field of 36 teams was selected and have been divided into six regions with six teams each. The Wildcats have been slated to compete at the Northeast Regionals, which will be held on April 7 at the University of Michigan.
Looking at UNH's competition in the Northeast, the Cats will be involved in one of the tougher meets with No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Michigan and No. 18 LSU as the top three seeded teams. UNH, ranked No. 36 in the nation and the fourth-seeded team, will also face two of the top competitors from New England with No. 50 Massachusetts in the fifth slot and No. 52 Rhode Island rounding out the field of six. The teams with the top two scores at each of the six regionals will move on to nationals on April 19-21 at the University of Georgia.
UNH is familiar with three of the teams at the Northeast Regionals, after defeating Massachusetts on Feb. 10 in Durham (193.6-192.325) and Rhode Island on Feb. 4 in Kingston (194.650-193.25). UNH, which has suffered only three losses during regular meets this season, was defeated at LSU by a 196.950-194.125 margin.
By the luck of the draw, UNH has a slight advantage in the Northeast Regional as it will be the team competing in Olympic order, meaning vault first, followed by bars, then beam and finally floor.
"We are very happy to have made it to regionals," said Goodspeed. "If we have one advantage it would be that UNH will be competing in Olympic order, which means we start on vault and end with what is usually one of our strongest events, floor. That is the exact same order we use at our home meets."
In 2001 UNH has seen several teams from the top athletic programs in the nation and has recorded victories over the likes of Arizona, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and Michigan State just to name a few. Take a look at the top 18 teams in this year's NCAA field one can truly get a feel for the high caliber of competition UNH will be up against. Here's a look at the top 18: 1. UCLA, 2. Georgia, 3. Nebraska, 4. Alabama, 5. Utah, 6. Stanford, 7. Michigan, 8. Iowa State, 9. Arizona State, 10. Penn State, 11. Brigham Young, 12. Florida, 13. Oregon State, 14. Iowa, 15. Washington, 16. Minnesota, 17. West Virginia, 18. Louisiana State.
The Wildcats, fresh off of a fourth-place finish in the EAGL Championship meet at the University of North Carolina, is no stranger to NCAA competition and will be competing in its 20th consecutive NCAA Regional meet under Goodspeed. UNH won the NCAA Regional back in 1993-94 and eventually went on to finish 12th at nationals. UNH's 15 regular-season victories in 2001 is the most since that 1993-94 campaign when the Wildcats posted 16 wins. The most wins ever by a Goodspeed-coached team at UNH is 20, recorded during the 1983-84 season.