Gymnasts Tangle with No. 3 Michigan, No. 25 West Virginia, Towson at WVU on Feb. 24 (2 p.m.)

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New Hampshire (9-3, 4-2 EAGL) at No. 25 West Virginia (6-5, 1-1 Big 12), w/ No. 3 Michigan (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten), Towson (7-7, 0-3 EAGL)
Feb. 24, 2013 • 2:00 p.m. • WVU Coliseum • Morgantown, W. Va.

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Jannelle Minichiello

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire gymnastics team travels to Morgantown, W. Va., for the inaugural Wendy M. Roach Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 24 (2 p.m.) against 25th-ranked West Virginia, No. 3 Michigan and East Atlantic Gymnastics League rival Towson at the WVU Coliseum.

LAST TIME OUT- AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (Feb. 15) – Erika Rudiger finished first in uneven bars with a 9.800 and took second place on floor exercise with a 9.800 to help lead the Wildcats to a team score of 192.725 in Friday night's Air Force Triangular victory against Air Force (191.775) and Lindenwood (187.850) at Cadet West Gym.
   UNH (9-3, 4-2 EAGL) started the tri-meet with a 48.650, its highest score of the night, on bars, with Rudiger matching her top bar mark of the season for the event victory. Kayla Gray snatched a share of second place with a 9.775, while Jen Aucoin and Austyn Fobes each scored a 9.700 to share fifth place.
   The Wildcats battled through a tough balance beam performance during the second rotation, managing a 47.025 to finish second behind the Falcons (47.250). Jannelle Minichiello and Erin Machado tied for fourth place with matching scores of 9.550.
   New Hampshire took command once again in the third rotation by sweeping the top two spots on floor exercise en route to a 48.550. Hannah Barile finished in first place with a 9.825, followed by Rudiger's 9.800. Fobes turned in a fine performance to score a 9.750 and a piece of fourth place.
   The 'Cats concluded their victory on vault with Fobes and Courtney Connors sharing gold with matching marks of 9.775. Barile scored a 9.700 to tie for third place, as UNH won the event with a team total of 48.500.

ON THE BUBBLE – The top 36 teams in the nation, based on the Regional Qualifying Score (RQS), will qualify for the NCAA Regional Championships on April 6. Currently, the Wildcats hold down the No. 35 ranking with an RQS of 193.880. That makes it imperative for UNH to turn in a strong score at this weekend's meet.

RISING RUDIGER – Sophomore Erika Rudiger enters the weekend ranked 18th in the Northeast on uneven bars (9.755 RQS) and 17th on floor exercise (9.770 RQS).  The sophomore has twice (Jan. 26 vs Temple, Brown; Feb. 16 at Air Force) hit for 9.800 on bars and has matched her personal best with a 9.825 on floor against Rutgers (Jan. 6) and at Maryland (Feb. 8).

SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS – No. 25 West Virginia enters this weekend's first-ever Wendy M. Roach Invitational with a 6-5 record and a 1-1 mark in its inaugural season in the Big 12. WVU, a charter member of EAGL along with UNH in 1996, won the league championship in its farewell 2012 season.
   Senior Alaska Richardson was named the Big 12 Specialist of the Week on Tuesday for the second time this season.  Richardson had a career day at then-No. 18 Maryland on Feb. 17. She won vault with a career-best 9.925 score and also finished a team-best fifth on floor with a 9.85 mark. Richardson's vault mark helped the Mountaineers tally a season-best 49.225 score on Sunday. WVU finished second overall with a season-best road mark of 195.775.  
   UNH defeated WVU at Lundholm Gym on Feb. 25, 2012, with the Wildcats compiling a 195.750 to edge the 23rd-ranked Mountaineers (194.225) in a dual meet. 

SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES – Third-ranked Michigan sports a record of 9-1, including 5-1 in Big Ten competition. The Wolverines are averaging a 196.939 and have been ranked in the top three every week this season, including No. 1 as recently as Jan. 21.
   Michigan ranks among the top 10 nationally in all four events, including tops in the nation on floor exercise (49.346), third on balance beam (49.125), fourth on uneven bars (49.261) and eighth on vault (49.207). Individually, senior Katie Zurales and junior Joanna Sampson are ranked seventh (39.400) and eighth (49.375), respectively, in the all-around.
   New Hampshire lost its last meeting to Michigan on Feb. 5, 2011. The Wildcats totaled a 195.375, but fell to 1-9 all-time against the Wolverines (196.800).

SCOUTING THE TIGERS – Trailing by 0.55 points entering the final rotation, Towson (7-7, 0-3 EAGL) turned in its best performance of the season on floor exercise (48.975) to come from behind and win the 28th annual Shelli Calloway Memorial Towson Invitational Meet at the Towson Center on Feb. 17. The Tigers posted a season-high 193.275 to edge Cornell (192.250), Temple (190.600) and Ursinus (182.425).
   Freshman Abby Griswold was named the EAGL Rookie of the Week on Feb. 17, becoming the first Tiger to win an EAGL award since Towson rejoined the league this season. Griswold won the all-around competition by equaling her career high with a 38.70 score for her first career AA title. 
   The Wildcats are 1-0 vs the Tigers this season; UNH totaled a 193.300 to better Towson's 192.250 for third place overall at the Maryland Quad-Meet on Feb. 8. 

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, or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.

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