WASHINGTON, D.C. – The UNH gymnastics team scored 195.175 points to narrowly finish runner-up at the 2011 East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championship meet on Saturday afternoon at George Washington University's Charles E. Smith Center, giving head coach Gail Goodspeed her 500th career coaching victory at the school.
UNH, which improves to 17-10 on the season, earns its best EAGL Championship finish since winning its lone crown in 2003. Goodspeed, in her 32nd season at the helm, improves her all-time UNH coaching mark to 501-266-2.
The University of North Carolina won the meet with a score of 195.3. The University of Maryland finished third with 195.025 points.
Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.), Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) and Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) posted scores of 9.8 to share the second-highest score on uneven bars, capturing All-EAGL Tournament First Team honors on that apparatus.
Still, it was bars that perhaps cost the Wildcats their first EAGL title since 2003. New Hampshire, holding a slight lead over North Carolina entering the final event, 146.525-146.3, scored a 48.65 on bars while the Tar Heels collected a 49 on vault at the same time to slip past the 'Cats and earn their second straight championship and fifth overall.
The Wildcats began the meet on balance beam, with their senior co-captains Katie Lawrence (Lyme, Conn.) and Chelsea Steinberg (Ridgewood, N.J.) saving the best for last. As the last two competitors, the duo scored a 9.8 and a 9.85, respectively, earning All-Tournament First Team honors and lifting UNH to a team tally of 48.525, good for third place through one rotation. Steinberg's 9.85 represented her second-highest beam score of the season.
After a bye in the second rotation dropped New Hampshire to fifth place, the Wildcats took to the floor exercise for rotation three, where they rallied back into second place courtesy of a team score of 49.075. Steinberg tied a season high with a 9.85, a score equaled by Katie Caliendo (Manorville, N.Y.) and Fobes, pushing UNH's team total to 97.6.
At the halfway point of the meet (four rotations), the Wildcats were third, trailing only North Carolina State (97.925) and Rutgers (97.7).
UNH would seize control in the fifth rotation, taking over first place overall following a strong showing on vault. Fobes led the way with a 9.825, helping the 'Cats compile a 48.925 for 146.525 points. Heading into its final event, uneven bars, UNH held a slim lead over North Carolina (146.3) and North Carolina State (146.225).
Steinberg was also named All-Tournament First Team on beam (9.85), floor (9.85) and all-around (38.975) and Second Team on vault (9.8).
Fobes added First Team honors on floor (9.85) and all-around (38.95) to her bars award. Caliendo claimed First Team with a 9.85 on floor, and Carr's 9.725 on bars notched Second Team honors.
New Hampshire, which entered the meet ranked 31st in the nation, now awaits word on a bid to the 2011 NCAA Regional Championships. The top 36 teams in the country are awarded places in the NCAAs, with the selections expected to be announced Monday, March 21. For more information on the UNH gymnastics team, visit www.unhwildcats.com.