ANN ARBOR, MICH.-- The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team, led by EAGL Gymnast of the Year Suzanne Poretz (Alexandria, Va.) in the all-around, recorded a team score of 194.225 to place fourth out of six teams at the NCAA Northeast Regional held in Crisler Arena at the University of Michigan Saturday evening.
Poretz, following NCAA tie-breaking procedures will compete at the National Championships after posting an all-around score of 38.825, which tied her for sixth place overall. She will travel to the University of Georgia on April 19-21 to compete as an all-arounder.
The winner of the meet was Michigan with a score of 197.225, followed by Stanford (196.725), LSU (196.300), the Wildcats, Rhode Island (189.075) and Massachusetts (188.525). The top two teams, Michigan and Stanford advance to the National championships at the University of Georgia. The Wildcats, through the luck of the draw, had a slight advantage from the start as it was the only team in the meet to perform its events in Olympic order, just as the Wildcats normally do in all home meets, starting in vault, then bars, beam and floor.
In the vault, the Wildcats posted a 48.050, just shy of the team's season-high of 48.750. Leading the way was freshman Brie McNamara (Haymarket, Va.) and sophomore all-arounder Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) with identical team-leading marks of 9.65.
Following a bye period, UNH headed to bars where the squad hit all of its sets. At this point in the meet, all six teams had two events in hand and UNH had over a two-point stronghold on fourth place with a total of 96.725. UMass was in fifth with a 94.30 and Rhode Island was sixth at 94.150. Michigan led all teams with a 98.550, while LSU and Stanford were tied for second with 98.175. Leading UNH on bars were a pair of 'Cats as, freshman Tara Phillips (Houston, Texas) and EAGL Rookie of the Year Jen Dickson (Salisbury, Md.) each posted team-highs of 9.775. As a team UNH checked in with a 48.675 total score in the event.
Prior to UNH, teams suffered several falls on beam, but the Wildcats handled the event with poise, despite two falls, and as a result was 3.2 points ahead of then fifth-place Massachusetts after three events. Topping the team list with the high score was EAGL Gymnast of the Year, Suzanne Poretz (Alexandria, Va.), who recorded a 9.850. But the key was three UNH gymnasts (Harley, Rose Kosowski and Katie Revis) all scoring 9.775 boosting the UNH total in the event to 48.550. Poretz's score was good for a tie for sixth overall.
Following the second and final bye for the Wildcats, the team completed the meet with what has traditionally been the strongest event for the 'Cats in recent years, the floor exercise. UNH responded true to form with four very high scores led by senior Rose Kosowski (Whitesboro, N.Y.) and her score of 9.875 to lead the 'Cats and tie for sixth overall. In the battle for the all-around title Poretz and Harley tied for sixth overall with identical four-event totals of 38.825.
"I was extremely pleased by the performance of our three seniors (Poretz, Wheaton and Kosowski), especially Suzanne after earning an individual spot at nationals" said 22nd-year head coach Gail Goodspeed. It was a great way for them to end their careers at UNH and it made for a very emotional ending to the meet. My one dissapointment was that we had worked hard to stick our vaults in practice and we did not accomplish that. Also, in a pressure meet like this one, I was happy we only counted one fall on beam." Suzanne and Michelle (Harley) did a tremendous job in the all-around for us."
UNH, which entered the meet ranked 36th in the nation heading into the Northeast Regionals, was the fourth-highest ranked team in the meet, behind No. 6 Stanford, No. 7 Michigan and No. 18 Louisiana State. The Wildcats were defeated by LSU earlier in the season, but had posted victories over both Massachusetts and Rhode Island in regular season meets.
UNH has qualified for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships 20 consecutive times in Goodspeed's 22-year career with the Wildcats.