Gymnastics prepares for NCAA Regional at University of Arkansas on April 7
2012 NCAA Gymnastics Fayetteville Regional, hosted by University of Arkansas
April 7, 2012 • 4:00 p.m. (CDT) • Barnhill Arena • Fayetteville, Ark.
(#1) UCLA | (#2) Arkansas | (#3) Boise State | (#4) Missouri | (#5) UNH | (#6) Maryland
DURHAM, N.H. - The UNH gymnastics team will take part in the 2012 National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships Fayetteville Regional at the University of Arkansas on Saturday, April 7 (4 p.m. CDT). The Wildcats will compete against UCLA, Arkansas, Boise State, Missouri and Maryland for the chance to advance to the NCAA Championship in Duluth, Ga., from April 20-22.
The top two teams from the Fayetteville Regional will advance to the Championship.
LAST TIME OUT: PITTSBURGH, PA. • March 24, 2012 - Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) registered a personal-best 9.900 on floor exercise to cap the UNH gymnastics team's highest floor score of the season and a team total of 195.225 for sixth place at the 2012 EAGL Championship, held at the University of Pittsburgh's Fitzgerald Field House.
West Virginia won the EAGL Championship with a total of 196.475. North Carolina State (196.000) finished in second place, followed by Maryland (195.950), North Carolina (195.550) and Pittsburgh (195.375). The Wildcats (14-10, 6-6 EAGL) earned wins over George Washington (194.050) and Rutgers (193.850).
Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) was named to the EAGL All-Tournament First Team on balance beam (second place) and Second Team on floor (T-16th place). Fobes was tabbed to the EAGL All-Tournament First Team on floor by tying for second place, and she gathered All-Tournament Second-Team honors in the all-around (T-ninth place). Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) garnered All-Tournament First Team on uneven bars (T-2nd) and Second Team on beam (T-10th). Ali Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.) earned All-Tournament Second Team on vault (T-14th) and bars (T-10th), and Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.) took home Second Team on bars (T-10th).
UNH began the meet on vault with All-EAGL Second Team performers Carr and Jillian Hudson (Sparkill, N.Y.) leading the way. Carr hit for a team-high 9.800 and Hudson added a 9.775 as UNH totaled a 48.775 for second place through one rotation.
After a bye in the second rotation dropped UNH to fourth place, Reibold spearheaded UNH's bar efforts with a personal-best-tying 9.875, complemented by Carr and Aucoin, who collected matching scores of 9.800. The Wildcats amassed a team score of 48.600 on bars to grab a hold of third place with a 97.375.
New Hampshire, which dipped to fifth place during a fourth-rotation bye, next turned its attention to balance beam, where Gray turned in an incredible performance for a team-leading 9.850. Reibold also performed strongly to notch a 9.775, and Jannelle Minichiello (Orlando, Fla.) garnered a 9.700 to help the 'Cats compile a 48.650 and an aggregate total of 146.025 for fourth place through five rotations.
The 'Cats saved their best for last by recording a season-best 49.175 on floor. Gray tied her career high with a 9.850, Kate McGeever (Saco, Maine) registered a 9.825 for her highest mark since Feb. 10, while Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) both secured scores of 9.800.
LAST YEAR'S NCAA REGIONALS: NORMAN, Okla. • April 2, 2011 - Senior co-captain Chelsea Steinberg (Ridgewood, N.J.), in her final collegiate meet, led the UNH gymnastics with team-high scores on balance beam, vault and all-around as the Wildcats finished fifth in the 2011 NCAA Division I Women's Gymnastics Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Oklahoma.
Steinberg finished with an all-around score of 38.925, highlighted by a 9.825 on vault and a 9.800 on beam, helping UNH compile 194.500 points.
No. 5 Oklahoma, the top seed, won the regional on its home campus with a team score of 197.350, followed by No. 7 Utah, the second seed, which tallied a 196.475. Both the Sooners and the Utes advanced to the NCAA Gymnastics Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, from April 15-17.
Washington (195.300) and North Carolina (195.225) took third and fourth, respectively, and Missouri (194.175) settled for sixth.
UNH began the meet on uneven bars, where sophomore Aucoin led the way with a 9.800, helping the 'Cats forge a tie with Utah for third place through one rotation with a score of 48.700.
The Wildcats would claim sole possession of second place following a second-rotation score of 48.400 on balance beam for a total of 97.100, just behind top-seeded Oklahoma (98.550). Steinberg, the last UNH competitor on beam, led the 'Cats with a 9.800 for a tie for seventh overall.
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 9.800 for team-high honors, wrapping up a 48.500 score for the Wildcats, allowing them to take hold of fourth place with a 145.600.
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 Carr, a 9.750 from Barile and a 9.725 from Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.).
The Wildcats accumulated a 48.900 on vault to conclude the meet with 194.500 points, behind only Oklahoma (197.350) at that point. But all UNH could do was watch the sixth and final rotation on a bye, allowing both North Carolina and Washington to sneak past it in the final scoring.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
The region's number one seed and nation's third-ranked team travels to Fayetteville one year after placing second overall at the NCAA Championships. UCLA registered a 197.425 to capture the first-ever Pac-12 Championship on March 24 for its 17th conference title. The Bruins, with an RQS of 197.270, are in search of their 20th NCAA Regional Championship and third in a row. Seven members of the UCLA squad were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team, and Valorie Kondos Field was voted the league's coach of the year for the fourth time in her career. The Bruins had at least one gymnast on each event make the All-Pac-12 team, led by co-Pac-12 vault champions Olivia Courtney and Vanessa Zamarripa and beam champion Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs.
The host team, seeded second and ranked 10th, qualified for its ninth consecutive NCAA Regional. The Razorbacks boast the SEC Gymnast of the Year in senior Jaime Pisani, who is the top all-around performer in the country. The All-America has an RQS of 39.590, averages a 39.464 and has a high score of 39.725. Arkansas has battled injuries during the second half of the season. Junior AA Jordan Salsberg was lost for the year with a knee injury, sophomore All-America Katherine Grable is ranked fourth in the nation in AA despite missing the previous three meets with an ankle injury and junior All-America Kelci Lewis has missed most of the last three meets due to an ankle ailment. The Hogs are attempting to advance to the NCAA Championship for the sixth time overall and fifth straight season.
#3 Boise State
The Broncos, ranked 15th and seeded third, are headed to an NCAA Regional for the fifth time under current co-head coaches Neil Resnick and Tina Bird and 26th time in program history. Boise State, which placed a program-best third in both the 2009 and '11 regional meets, has never advanced to the NCAA Championship. Six Bronco gymnasts are ranked among the top 100 in their respective events, including Brittany Potvin-Green, who is ranked 51st in AA (39.100 RQS) and 21st on vault (9.900). Ciera Perkins is tied for 97th on vault (9.830), ranks 37th on bars (9.860) and owns a share of the No. 82 spot on floor (9.840).
The 19th-ranked Tigers earned the No. 4 seed in the Regional after tying for second place in the Big 12 Championship. Katelyn Trevino won the Big 12 floor individual crown with a 9.900, senior Mary Burke was tabbed the conference gymnast of the year and freshman Rachel Updike was recognized as the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Mizzou claimed its 11th straight regional appearance and the 24th in program history. The Tigers finished sixth in the 2011 Norman Regional, one spot behind UNH.
The sixth-seeded Terrapins will be participating in the NCAA Regionals for the fourth consecutive season and 18th time overall. The Terps look to build on the momentum of their record-breaking performance at the EAGL Championship, when they tied the 10th-highest score in school history with a 195.950 for third place. Kyra Phillips, Katy Dodds and Ally Krikorian deadlocked for the vault championship with matching tallies of 9.900, and Krikorian took the top score on floor with a 9.925.
In addition to the six programs competing at the Fayetteville Regional, nine individual gymnasts qualified even though their respective programs did not. The five all-around competitors are Kacy Catanzaro and Lindsay Poplaski from Towson, William & Mary's Kristin Milardo and Jess Pritchard and Stephanie Stoicovy of George Washington. Individual event specialists include Elena Corcoran of GW on vault and her Colonial teammates Kiera Kenney on bars and Monique Blount on beam. Towson's Avis Hixon will compete on floor exercise. Pritchard will rotate with UNH throughout the competition.
WILDCAT NEWS AND NOTES
BARS A POSSIBLE GRAY AREA
With regular-season bar competitor Adrienne Hill out of the rotation, All-EAGL First-Team beam performer Kayla Gray has been practicing a bar set in the hopes of cracking the lineup. This will mark the third meet without Hill on bars. Jillian Hudson, All-EAGL Second Team competitor on vault, has taken her place over the last two meets. Hill, who has been out with concussion-like symptoms since the Arizona meet (March 11), has been practicing with the intent of returning to the vault lineup this weekend. With a personal best of 9.800 on vault versus Pittsburgh on Jan. 21, Hill averaged a 9.660 and compiled a 9.705 RQS.
REIBOLD NAMED EAGL SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF YEAR
Senior Danielle Reibold was honored as the EAGL Scholar-Athlete of the Year at the league's annual banquet March 23 and was named to the All-EAGL First Team on uneven bars for the third consecutive year. One day later at the EAGL Championship, she earned a spot on the All-Tournament First Team by matching her personal best of 9.875 to tie for second place. She also was a Second Team performer on beam.
FOBES COMES AROUND
Austyn Fobes became the first Wildcat to compete in the all-around this season when she scored a 38.675 at the EAGL Championship on March 24. The junior, who earned a berth on the EAGL All-Tournament Second Team for her efforts, is expected to take part in all four events in Fayetteville. Fobes set a career high with a 39.100 AA tally at LSU on March 4, 2011.
Photos courtesy Michael Lawler