DURHAM, N.H. – Senior Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) was named the team MVP to headline the 2013 University of New Hampshire gymnastics team postseason banquet, held Sunday morning at the Whittemore Center Skybox Lounge.
Junior Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) was honored with the Cats Can award, junior Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) received the Most Inspirational award, sophomore Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) was feted as the Katie Baldwin Academic Excellence award recipient and sophomore Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) garnered the Most Improved award.
Fobes, who ranks ninth all-time in UNH history with 1,469.60 points, competed as an all-arounder at the 2013 NCAA Morgantown Regional at West Virginia University on April 6 to cap her illustrious career. The native of Howell, N.J., was named to the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) All-Tournament First Team on uneven bars and Second Team on vault, floor exercise and all-around; she garnered All-EAGL First Team on bars and AA to go along with Second Team on vault, balance beam and floor. The two-time EAGL Gymnast of the Week (Jan. 8, 29) set a personal-best 39.425 all-around score against Rutgers on Jan. 6; that mark was the second-highest AA score in EAGL this season.
Barile, the team's 2012 Most Improved award winner, was presented the inaugural Cats Can award by the coaching staff based on her dedication and work ethic as well as stepping up to help the team reach its full potential. The junior, who competed as an event specialist on vault and floor at the NCAA Morgantown Regional, was feted as an All-EAGL First Team competitor on floor and Second Team on vault to go along with EAGL All-Tournament First Team on floor and Second Team on vault.
Machado was recognized as the Most Inspirational gymnast for being the most spirited teammate who contributed the most both on and off the floor. The junior competed on beam and floor in all 12 meets this season, twice hitting for a personal-best 9.800 on beam (Jan. 18, 26) and equaling her career-high 9.850 floor score Jan. 6 and Feb. 8.
Gray, who is majoring in kinesiology: exercise science with a cumulative 3.97 grade point average, received the prestigious Katie Baldwin Academic Excellence award for her superb classroom merit. The sophomore is a two-time member of the EAGL All-Academic Team who compiled a 4.00 GPA during the fall/spring 2012 academic year. Gray scored a 9.875 to win the balance beam individual title at the EAGL Championship on March 24 at the University of North Carolina; she became the first Wildcat to achieve that feat since Mariana Pena Trestini in 2006. The NCAA Regional all-around competitor, who tied for fifth place on beam at Morgantown, earned a berth on the EAGL All-Tournament First Team on beam, floor exercise and all-around to go along with Second Team on bars. She made it back-to-back years on the All-EAGL First Team for beam and registered seven individual beam victories among her nine total first-place scores.
Rudiger was feted as the Most Improved gymnast after earning a berth on the All-EAGL Second Team on floor exercise. The sophomore competed in three events all season and established personal-best scores on vault (9.800, March 2), bars (9.875, March 2) and floor (9.875, Feb. 24).
Members of the 9.5 Club, created in memory of the Wildcats' No. 1 fan Robert Houston, Sr., were recognized for scoring 9.500 or above in at least one event this season: first-time honorees Elissa Solomon (Ridgefield, Conn.) and Catarina Broccoli (Mystic, Conn.); two-time winners Gray, Rudiger and Becca Marrama (Lynnfield, Mass.); three-time recipients Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.), Barile, Jillian Hudson (Sparkill, N.Y.), Machado and Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.) and four-time winners Fobes and Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.).
Team co-captains Aucoin and Connors were thanked for their service, while Barile and Machado were introduced as 2013-14 team co-captains.
The UNH gymnastics team finished the season ranked 41st nationally with a 194.810 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), an overall record of 17-7 and a season-high mark of 195.650 scored in a tri-meet victory over Temple and Brown at Lundholm Gymnasium on Jan. 26. For more information on the UNH gymnastics program, visit www.unhwildcats.com.