Gray's Beam Crown Highlights Gymnastics' 6th-Place Finish At EAGL Championship
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored a 9.875 to win the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) balance beam individual championship, and the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team placed sixth overall with a 194.175 at Saturday's EAGL Championship, held at the University of North Carolina's Carmichael Arena.
North Carolina State won its fifth EAGL title with a 195.175 to edge 22nd-ranked Maryland (195.100), Pittsburgh (194.875), George Washington (194.750), North Carolina (194.225), UNH, Rutgers (193.925) and Towson (192.675).
Gray, who became New Hampshire's first EAGL beam champion since Mariana Pena-Trestini in 2006, earned a berth on the EAGL All-Tournament First Team on beam and all-around, where the sophomore finished tied for second place with a 39.150. She added Second Team on uneven bars and floor exercise.
Senior Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) earned All-Tournament First Team on bars and Second Team on vault, floor and all-around; junior Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) was tabbed to the All-Tournament First Team on floor and Second Team on vault; senior Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.) was named to the All-Tournament First Team on bars; freshman Elissa Solomon (Ridgefield, Conn.) garnered All-Tournament First Team on beam; senior Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) was named to the All-Tournament Second Team on vault; and Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) notched a spot on the All-Tournament Second Team on floor.
Following a first-rotation bye, the Wildcats went right to work on floor exercise by turning in a team score of 48.900 to take over second place, behind N.C. State (48.950). Barile, the Wildcats' sixth and final floor competitor, tallied a team-best 9.850 to claim a share of second place. Gray scored a 9.800 (tie-ninth), while Machado and Fobes each earned a 9.775 for a share of 13th place.
After a third-rotation bye, UNH recaptured momentum in the fourth rotation by compiling a vault score of 48.825, matching the second-highest total of the season. Connors tied her season high with a 9.800 to jumpstart the lineup. Fobes and Barile equaled Connors' mark to share ninth place, and Gray added a personal-best-matching 9.725 (T-28th).
At the meet's midway point, the Wildcats (97.725) trailed only the Wolfpack (97.750).
UNH and Pittsburgh moved into a first-place deadlock following the sixth rotation with matching totals of 146.475. After a slow start on uneven bars, Fobes and Aucoin went back-to-back with tying scores of 9.825 to share second place. Gray's 9.750 was good for a tie for 14th place, and New Hampshire registered a 48.750.
Struggles on balance beam in the eighth and final rotation caused the Wildcats to slip to sixth place overall, but Gray stole the spotlight with the event-winning 9.875. Solomon set a career high with a 9.800 to tie for seventh place.
The Wildcats will find out which individual gymnasts will qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships when the field of 36 teams is announced Monday, March 25, at 3 p.m. during the NCAA Division I Gymnastics Selection Show exclusively on www.ncaa.com.
For more information on UNH gymnastics, visit www.unhwildcats.com.