Machado's floor exercise championship helps gymnastics post victory over Bridgeport

Erin Machado

DURHAM, N.H. – Freshman Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) registered a personal-best 9.85 to win the floor exercise championship, and upperclassmen Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) and Katie Lawrence (Lyme, Conn.) also posted wins to lead the UNH gymnastics team to a victory over the University of Bridgeport on Sunday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium.

UNH improved to 4-2 on the season by virtue of a 194.025-192.15 win over Bridgeport, which also stands at 4-2 on the year.

The Wildcats won the vault competition, 48.975-47.95, with reigning EAGL Gymnast of the Week Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) registering a personal-best 9.85 to tie for the top spot on that apparatus. Ali Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Chelsea Steinberg (Ridgewood, N.J.) finished just off the pace, tying for third place with matching scores of 9.8. Jillian Hudson (Sparkill, N.Y.) also earned a fifth-place score with a personal-best 9.775 that drew praise from head coach Gail Goodspeed.

"Jill was second up and probably landed her best vault of the season," Goodspeed said. "Her hit set helped set the tone, and she likely would have scored higher if she had performed later in the lineup."

New Hampshire swept the top three spots on uneven bars, where Reibold's personal-best 9.85 led all competitors, while Carr (9.775) and Lawrence (9.75) rounded out the high scores.  Despite the individual accolades, the Wildcats only totaled 47.425 points on bars, behind the Purple Knights' 47.575.  

"We had two great events, beam was okay, but bars was beneath our abilities, and I'm very disappointed with our performance in that event," Goodspeed said.

Leading the way in the strong beam contingent was Lawrence, who tied with Bridgeport's Emily Repko for the championship with a personal-best 9.875. Reibold's 9.8 scored landed her a third-place finish, and Jen Aucoin (9.775, Mullica Hill, N.J.) and Jannelle Minichiello (9.725, Tewksbury, Mass.) each notched personal bests to finish fourth and fifth, respectively. UNH tallied a 48.725 on beam, besting Bridgeport's 48.125.

Machado's triumph on floor was complemented by Fobes' 9.8, tied for second, and a three-way deadlock among Wildcats for fourth place, as Tasia Percevecz (Fountain Hills, Ariz.), Reibold and Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) all amassed a 9.75. The Wildcats totaled 48.9 on floor, compared to Bridgeport's 48.5, and the freshman left an impression on her coach.

"Erin was fourth up on floor and won the event against solid competition. She's been moving up in the lineup every week and is performing a routine we know we can count on," Goodspeed said.

Fobes, UNH's only all-around performer, finished runner-up with a 38.325. Bridgeport's Monica Mesalles was the all-around champion with a combined score of 38.8.

The Wildcats' next home meet takes place Saturday, Feb. 5, at 4 p.m. against the University of Michigan, the No. 8 team in the country, at Lundholm Gymnasium.

"We have to hit across the board in order to be able to measure up against Michigan, so it should be quite a meet," Goodspeed said.

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