DURHAM, N.H. – Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) notched a personal-best all-around score of 39.425, which matched the fourth-best AA score in school history, to propel the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team to Sunday afternoon's 194.850-192.800 season-opening East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) victory against Rutgers at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Fobes posted the meet's top score on vault (9.850) and uneven bars (9.875), tied for the top mark on floor exercise (9.875), and registered the meet's top AA score, which was a mere 0.050 points off the best performance in UNH history.
"It was not only Austyn Fobes' highest score, but the best performance I've seen from her," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "Great team score for the start of the season, and a great performance by Austyn."
After a malfunction with the uneven bars caused a delay at the event's outset, the Wildcats started the meet on beam. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) amassed a first-place score of 9.875 and UNH compiled a 48.825, but Rutgers took the lead through the first rotation by virtue of its floor score of 49.175.
That would prove to be the Scarlet Knights' lone lead; the 'Cats took command on the second rotation by sweeping the top four scores on floor en route to a 49.175, matching their top floor score from any 2012 meet. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) set a personal best with a 9.875, which shared first place with Fobes. Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) tied a career high with a 9.850 for third, and Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) also set a personal best with a 9.825 to tie for fourth place.
New Hampshire kept the pressure on with a 48.825 on vault. Rudiger's personal best matched Barile's career-high-tying mark of 9.775 for a third-place deadlock. Jenna Williams of Rutgers scored a 9.800 to earn second place.
Rutgers outscored UNH on bars (48.900-48.700), but Fobes took the top individual spot, followed by a second-place tie between Scarlet Knight gymnasts Williams and Alexis Gunzelman, who each scored a 9.850. Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.) hit for a 9.800 to claim a share of fourth place.
"We were very pleased with the team's ability to maintain focus through all the craziness of the equipment malfunction," Goodspeed said. "They still kept their energy and their focus all the way to the end of the meet, and that was great."
For Rutgers, Alyssa Straub compiled a 37.850 to earn runner-up status in all-around.
The Wildcats return to action with a Friday, Jan. 11, non-conference meet at Central Michigan (7 p.m.). The next home meet at Lundholm Gym is slated for Friday, Jan. 18, against EAGL preseason favorite and No. 22 North Carolina State (0-1). For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.