Gray's 9.850 on Floor Helps Gymnastics Upset No. 19 N.C. State

Kayla Gray

DURHAM, N.H. – Making her first appearance on floor exercise this season, Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) equaled her personal best with a 9.850 to help propel the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team to a 193.850-193.525 upset victory over No. 19 North Carolina State on Friday night at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats improved to 2-1 on the season and 2-0 against East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) opponents, while the Wolfpack slipped to 0-2-1 overall and 0-1-1 in EAGL. 

N.C. State swept the top three places on vault, with reigning EAGL Gymnast of the Week Diahanna Ham tallying a meet-best 9.850, followed by matching scores of 9.800 from her teammates Stephanie Ouellette and Brittni Watkins. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) and Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) paced the Wildcats' vault scoring with fourth-place-tying marks of 9.750, but UNH's vault total of 48.275 was bested by the Wolfpack's 48.900.

On uneven bars, Fobes and N.C. State's Rachel Fincham shared first place with scores of 9.825. Gray set a personal best with a 9.800, and Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.), who received the meet's Katie Baldwin Expression Award, closed out the rotation with a 9.800 to tie Gray for third place. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) chipped in with a 9.750 for a share of fifth place, and UNH registered a 48.550 bar mark to edge the Wolfpack's 47.100.

North Carolina State put together an impressive set on balance beam, amassing the highest score of the night (49.150). The Wolfpack swept the top four scores on that apparatus, buoyed by the first-place duo of Hannah Fallanca and Lane Jarrred, who each scored a 9.850; Michaela Woodford and Fincham shared third place with marks of 9.825.  The Wildcats were led by Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.), who stepped up to score a career-high 9.800 and a share of fifth place with Ham to power UNH to a 48.525. 

The meet came down to the final rotation, and the Wildcats proved up to the challenge by earning their highest score of the night (48.750). Jannelle Minichiello (Orlando, Fla.) led off with a 9.700, a score matched by Machado and Barile to share fifth place with Jarred. Gray, who did not compete on floor in the Wildcats' first two meets of the season, helped salt away the victory with her second-place and career-high-tying performance. Watkins delivered a first-place and meet-high score of 9.900, but New Hampshire's floor depth was the difference in topping the Wolfpack's 48.375.

Ouelette won the all-around competition with a 38.850, followed by Fobes (38.725) and Ham (38.200).

The Wildcats return to action at Lundholm Gymnasium with a tri-meet against Temple and Brown on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 4 p.m.  For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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