Gymnastics Competes At Saturday's Air Force Triangular (8 p.m. EST)

Courtney Connors

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New Hampshire (7-3, 4-2 EAGL) at Air Force (3-6), w/ Lindenwood (1-8)
Feb. 16, 2013 • 8:00 p.m. (EST) • Cadet West Gymnasium • Air Force Academy, Colo.
Video Streaming:
http://www.goairforcefalcons.com/allaccess/?media=370753

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire gymnastics team ventures to the Air Force Academy to compete in the Air Force Triangular meet against the Falcons and Lindenwood University at the Academy's Cadet West Gymnasium on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (EST). Free live video streaming of the event is available at www.GoAirForceFalcons.com.

LAST TIME OUT – COLLEGE PARK, Md. (Feb. 8) - Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) matched a personal best with a 9.850 on floor exercise to highlight UNH's strongest event Friday night as the Wildcats finished in third place at an East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) quad-meet won by 17th-ranked Maryland.

The Terrapins (7-1-1, 5-1-1 EAGL) scored a 195.100 to defeat North Carolina State (194.600), UNH (193.300) and Towson (192.250). The Wolfpack's record now stands at 5-4-1, 2-2-1 EAGL; the Wildcats slip to 7-3, 4-2 EAGL; and the Tigers tumble to 4-7, 0-3 EAGL. 

The Wildcats began the meet with three strong sets on balance beam, but tight judging held the 'Cats to an uncharacteristically low 47.100 to slip into fourth place through one rotation. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) notched a 9.750 to collect team-high honors and second place overall.

UNH rallied back during the second rotation to score a 48.950 on floor exercise, its highest team mark of the meet. Machado headlined the Wildcats' efforts by matching her personal best with a 9.850 for a share of fifth place. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) equaled her career high with a 9.825 for a seventh-place deadlock, and Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.) set a personal-best floor score with a 9.775 (T-13th).

In the third rotation, the Wildcats hit five of their six vaults with strong showings and no falls among the counting scores for a 48.775. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) matched her personal best for the second straight meet by compiling a 9.825 to grab a share of fifth place. Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored an impressive 9.800 to match her season high and an eighth-place tie.

The 'Cats concluded the competition on uneven bars, with the middle of the lineup stepping up with strong performances. Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) tied Maryland's Karen Tang for first place with matching marks of 9.850. Fobes was supported by Rudiger and Gray, who shared fourth place with scores of 9.750, giving New Hampshire a team mark of 48.475.

FLOORING THE COMPETITION – UNH is tied for first in EAGL with an average floor exercise score of 48.900, matching Pittsburgh. Kayla Gray leads the way with an average score of 9.825 and a high mark of 9.850 for a share of EAGL's No. 5 ranking. Erin Machado boasts a 9.783 average for the No. 11 spot.

SCOUTING THE FALCONS – Air Force is currently ranked second in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with an average score of 192.045. Individually, Alexandra Stych is ranked third on the floor exercise with a 9.708 average, while Jessica Hanneris is ranked fifth on the balance beam with a mark of 9.640. In addition, Jen LarsenLinnaea Hance and Hanner are ranked fourth (38.313), fifth (38.235) and sixth (38.206), respectively, in the all-around.

Jessica Wallander was named the MPSF Gymnast of the Week on Feb. 12, following a stellar performance at the Falcons' dual meet with Utah State on Feb. 8. Wallander won the floor exercise with a career-best 9.800, while claiming additional top-three finishes on the uneven bars (career-best 9.750, second) and vault (9.800, third).

Air Force broke the 193-point mark for the second time this season during a narrow 193.575-193.200 loss to Utah State. The mark is the Falcons' second-highest score of the season and the third-highest total since 2007. Throughout the first month-and-a-half of the season, this squad has accounted for three of the five highest scores since head coach Doug Day arrived seven seasons ago.

SCOUTING THE LADY LIONS - The Lindenwood gymnastics team set records last Saturday evening as it recorded a team score of 192.050. Bowling Green won the event, scoring just eight-tenths higher than the Lady Lions with a 192.850.
  Setting a school record in the vault, Rachel Zabawa led the Lady Lions with a 9.700. As a team, the Lady Lions set a record with a 47.675, two-tenths of a point higher than the mark set at Texas Woman's the previous week.
  Courtney Heise set a career high on the bars, leading Lindenwood with a 9.750. With a 9.825, Zabawa led the Lady Lions once again on the event and earned first place overall in the event. 

Lindenwood shattered another school mark on the floor exercise. Ingui broke the school record on the floor with a 9.775. Promptly one gymnast later, Heise broke that record, posting a 9.825. Zabawa rounded out Lindenwood with a 9.800 on the floor, giving them a season-high 48.475, almost a point higher than their previous best.

SENIOR DAY COMING MARCH 2- UNH will return to Lundholm Gymnasium to take on Towson, Yale and Brown in the annual UNH Invitational on Saturday, March 2, at 4 p.m. That will be the Senior Day meet for Aucoin, Connors, Fobes and Becca Marrama. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com, or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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