MEET NOTES: No. 23 Gymnastics Competes at NCAA University Park Regional (April 5, 4 p.m.)
2014 NCAA University Park Regional
No. 1 Florida • No. 12 Oregon State • No. 15 Penn State • No. 23 UNH • Kentucky • Maryland
April 5, 2014 • 4:00 p.m. • Rec Hall • University Park, Pa.
DURHAM, N.H. – The 23rd-ranked University of New Hampshire gymnastics team seeks its second-ever trip to the NCAA National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships when it competes Saturday, April 5 (4 p.m.), in the NCAA University Park Regional, hosted by Penn State University.
The East Atlantic Gymnastics League champion Wildcats (21-4, 13-2 EAGL) are the No. 4 seed in the region. Top-ranked University of Florida is the No. 1 seed, followed by 12th-ranked Oregon State (No. 2 seed), 15th-ranked Penn State (No. 3), UNH, Kentucky (No. 5) and Maryland (No. 6).
The Wildcats will open the meet on floor exercise, which has been their highest-scoring event of the season. UNH tallied a season-high 49.400 on floor in the EAGL Championship on March 22 at the Whittemore Center, and the 'Cats have a season Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 49.125. Senior co-captain Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.), who garnered All-EAGL First Team on floor, put together an encore performance in her final meet on the UNH campus by scoring a personal-best 9.900 to earn a share of the individual EAGL floor championship. Machado, who ranked fourth in EAGL with a 9.860 RQS, notched first place on that apparatus three times and posted at least a share of New Hampshire's top floor mark in eight of 12 meets. Senior co-captain Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.), who matched her career high with a 9.875 at EAGLs, also earned All-EAGL First Team on floor (9.845 RQS).
UNH shifts to vault for the second rotation. The Wildcats boast a 48.950 RQS, which includes a season-high 49.200 in a quad-meet against the Nittany Lions, George Washington and Bridgeport on March 8 at Lundholm Gym. Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) headlines the lineup with a 9.825 RQS, highlighted by a personal-best 9.925 in the March 8 quad-meet. The redshirt freshman earned All-EAGL First Team on vault, posted three first-place scores and paced UNH's efforts in six meets. Barile also tallied All-EAGL First Team honors and scored a personal-best 9.850 in three meets (Feb. 1 vs Maryland; Feb. 8 at Yale; March 8).
Following a third-rotation bye, the 'Cats take to uneven bars (48.870 RQS) in the fourth rotation. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) leads off the lineup and also leads the way with a 9.810 RQS, which earned her a berth on the All-EAGL First Team. The junior tallied three first-place bar scores (Feb. 8, Feb. 15, March 14) and posted New Hampshire's top mark eight times, including the first six meets. Freshman Lauren Brodie (Mogadore, Ohio) came on late in the season to register the team's top bar score in three of the final four meets, which included a career-high 9.850 at North Carolina State on March 16.
The Wildcats wrap up the meet on balance beam (EAGL-leading 49.075 RQS) during the fifth rotation. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.), EAGL's 2013 beam champion and top-ranked beam gymnast (9.860 RQS) in '14, anchors the lineup from the sixth spot. Gray topped UNH's beam score seven times, including first place in five meets –the most among the Wildcats in any one event. The All-EAGL First Team and All-Tournament First Team competitor claimed outright beam wins three times (Jan. 19, Feb. 8, Feb. 15). Aucoin is another force on beam, with four first-place marks (Feb. 1, March 8, March 14, March 16) and a team season-high 9.950 (March 8) on her way to All-EAGL First Team and All-Tournament First Team accolades.
The Wildcats have a bye for the sixth and final rotation.
The top two teams and top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from the University Park Regional will advance to the NCAA National Collegiate Women's Gymnastics Championships (April 18-20), hosted by the University of Alabama and the Alabama Sports Foundation.
UNH won its lone NCAA Regional on April 9, 1994, when it captured the Northeast Regional at the University of Rhode Island with a team score of 191.950.