Gymnastics: Wildcat Gymnasts continue to shine

By Sam Donnelly
On February 11, 2014

With two consecutive first-place finishes in two weekends over Maryland, and then Yale this Saturday, the gymnastics team is beginning to come into form. 

"It was great to see the team step up and compete," head coach Gail Godspeed said. "The team never lost a positive attitude."

Their first victory against Maryland came down to the final event. Maryland was ahead by .15 points with UNH going into the floor routine. Hannah Barile scored a personal best on the vault with a score of 9.850. Freshman Meghan Pflieger scored a first-place finish from her all-around position. This was the first time in her career she competed in the all-around, finishing with a score of 39.100. Both Maryland and UNH performed well, but UNH hit their routines with more precision and won 195.400 to 193.950.

 In their latest competition, UNH headed to Yale to compete against a team they had beat before. Junior Kayla Gray tied a season-high score on the balance beam of 9.875, while Kelsey Aucoin and Barile shared a top score of 9.850 on the vault. Erika Rudiger and Pflieger held down the uneven bars, scoring 9.755 and 9.700 respectively, earning them first and third place. Those efforts and the efforts of several of the other gymnasts pushed UNH to a 195.400-188.700 win. 

"We have hopefully turned the corner," Godspeed said. "We know we can hit all of our routines now."

UNH hit 47 out of 48 sets in both their meets combined.

"We had great team energy in our drive to hit 24 for 24," Godspeed said. "We were close last week, with 23 out of 24, but today we took that next step to achieve our goal."

In the past few weeks the team has found a sparkplug of sorts in the form of a 5-foot-2-inch freshman. Pflieger has jumped into a leadership role and has taken it in stride. Her talent isn't exactly what impresses her teammates the most, though.

"She brings a very upbeat and motivational attitude to the team," Barile said. "She will do whatever she needs to in order to help the team."

Pflieger has been awarded with East Atlantic Gymnastic Leagues rookie of the week twice. 

"Meghan has really stepped up to be able to do all four events at a high level." Godspeed said. "She is the top choice right now."

With a big meet coming up Feb. 15 in Lundholm gym against Centenary and Brown, the opponent does not hold much importance.

"At this point for us every meet is not competing against an opponent," Godspeed said. "We are competing against ourselves and shooting for the highest scores."

With two straight 195-point finishes, the team is trending upwards. With talent from freshman to seniors the team is looking to make a strong run to regionals and perhaps beyond.

"The goal has always been regionals," Barile said. "We just have to stick [to] our sets and come to work hard everyday."

The message from coach Godspeed is longer but simpler." We need to have stronger depth, and be able to be consistently strong with our sets," Godspeed said. "Ultimately, though, everyone just has to do their jobs. It's pretty much just that."

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