Gymnastics finishes fifth at NCAA Regional Championship in Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. – Senior co-captain Chelsea Steinberg (Ridgewood, N.J.), in her final collegiate meet, led the University of New Hampshire gymnastics with team-high scores in balance beam, vault and all-around as the Wildcats finished fifth in the NCAA Division I Women's Gymnastics Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Oklahoma, on Saturday.

Steinberg finished with an all-around score of 38.925, highlighted by a 9.825 on vault and a 9.8 on beam, helping UNH compile 194.5 points.

No. 5 Oklahoma, the top seed, won the regional on its home campus with a team score of 197.35, followed by No. 7 Utah, the second seed, which tallied a 196.475. Both the Sooners

Chelsea Steinberg

and the Utes will advance to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, from April 15-17. 

Washington (195.3) and North Carolina (195.225) took third and fourth, respectively, and Missouri (194.175) settled for sixth.

"We started out great on bars and beam, but lost a bit of our edge on floor and vaulting," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "I was particularly disappointed in floor, but overall, it was a great season. This is a very talented team, and I am very proud of them."

UNH began the meet on uneven bars, where sophomore Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.) led the way with a 9.8, helping the 'Cats forge a tie with Utah for third place through one rotation with a score of 48.7. Other bar standouts included Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) and Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.), who both posted a 9.75.

The Wildcats would claim sole possession of second place following a second-rotation score of 48.4 on balance beam for a total of 97.1, just behind top-seeded Oklahoma (98.55). Steinberg, the last UNH competitor on beam, led the 'Cats with a 9.8 for a tie for seventh overall, slightly higher than Katie Lawrence (Lyme, Conn.), who earned a 9.775.

UNH slipped to fifth place during a bye in the third rotation, and then, for the third straight event, the final UNH performer scored the highest mark in rotation four. On floor exercise, Katie Caliendo (Manorville, N.Y.) collected a 9.8 for team-high honors, wrapping up a 48.5 score for the Wildcats, allowing them to take hold of fourth place with a 145.6. Steinberg amassed a 9.75 on floor, and Fobes scored a 9.7.

The Wildcats actually reclaimed second place at the end of the fifth rotation, thanks to a strong showing on vault. Steinberg's 9.825 was followed by matching 9.8s from Caliendo and Ali Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.), a 9.75 from Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and a 9.725 from Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.).  The Wildcats accumulated a 48.9 on vault to conclude the meet with 194.5 points, behind only Oklahoma (197.35) at that point. But all UNH could do was watch the sixth and final rotation on a bye, allowing both North Carolina (194.85) and Washington (194.625) to sneak past it in the final scoring.

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