PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Sophomore Jannelle Minichiello (Orlando, Fla.) and senior Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) tied for first place in balance beam to help the University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team earn a 191.05-189.575 victory over Rutgers in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Livingston Recreation Center.
The Wildcats began the meet by hitting on five of six routines on uneven bars to outscore the Scarlet Knights, 47.75-47.375. Reibold and senior co-captain Ali Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.) turned in exceptional performances, though tight judging resulted in matching 9.65 scores.
UNH's second event was vault, where Carr once again shined by sticking her vault for a 9.825, good for second place. Junior co-captain Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) and freshman Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) tallied identical scores of 9.6, and the 'Cats amassed a team total of 48.075 to edge Rutgers, which scored 47.7.
The home team enjoyed its only advantage of the meet on floor exercise, nipping New Hampshire 48.5-48.05. Reibold provided UNH's top score with a 9.7, followed by senior Kate McGeever (Saco, Maine) and sophomore Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.), who each registered a 9.625.
Minichiello set the tone for the team's beam success by turning in an outstanding performance for a first-place 9.75, which was subsequently matched by Reibold. The duo helped offset uncharacteristic errors from the rest of the beam team, as the 'Cats prevailed on that apparatus, 47.175-46.
"We were sloppy in some areas and will have to clean things up, but we'll take the win and look to improve next week against Penn State," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "Danielle Reibold had a great meet and was very consistent across the board with her performances on bars, beam and floor."
The Wildcats return to action with their first home meet of the season next Sunday, Jan. 15, at 1 p.m. against Penn State at Lundholm Gymnasium. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.