Gymnastics: UNH goes out and shines
Wildcats win second EAGL championship in program history, first since 2003
From the spectators to the competitors to the coaches, the East Atlantic Gymnastic League (EAGL) championships was nothing short of high-energy last Saturday, especially for the women of the UNH gymnastics team, who became the 2014 EAGL champions.
In front of an estimated crowd of 3,252 at the Whittemore Center Arena, the UNH gymnastics team brought its best effort and earned itself the university's second ever EAGL championship.
"It's just going to be such a wonderful memory for all the student-athletes and we had such an amazing crowd," UNH gymnastics coach Gail Goodspeed said.
UNH started the day on beam, and after an impressive performance led by junior Kayla Gray (9.875), the Wildcats took the lead in team scoring over the Terrapins from the University of Maryland 49.175-48.925.
Next the Wildcats took the floor exercises posting an impressive 49.400 as a team, the highest of any team competing that day. Leading the Wildcats in floor was senior Erin Michado, who posted a 9.900. Not only did Michado's floor performance help lead the Wildcats to team success, but also earned her first place honors for the day.
The third event the Wildcats competed in was vault, an event that put the Wildcats in position to capture the championship scoring a 48.875. Strong efforts from freshman Kelsey Aucoin (9.825), Hannah Barile (9.800), Erika Rudiger (9.750) and Adrienne Hill (9.750) put the Wildcats in position to take the crown heading into the final rotation with a running team score of 147.450 just ahead of Maryland (146.750).
On the final rotation the Wildcats took to the uneven bars needing a score of 48.26 as a team to take sole possession of the lead over Maryland who finished the day with a final team score of 195.700.
The Wildcats posted strong scores from Lauren Brodie (9.825), Erika Rudiger (9.80) and Hannah Barile (9.800) which resulted in a team total of 48.925 and a final team score of 196.375.
Particularly impressive on the day was freshman Meghan Pflieger, who competed in all four events for the Wildcats.
Pflieger, who missed practice during the week due to illness, scored a 9.750 on vault, 9.675 on bars, 9.850 on beam and 9.875 on floor. Pflieger's scores earned her third place individually in the all-around category as well as first team all-tournament honors.
Despite the strong showing, Pflieger was quick to turn the attention away from her individual effort, and give credit the rest of her team, particularly the seniors.
"Our seniors are incredible, they're the biggest part of this team and seeing them go out there and shine is just incredible," Pflieger said.
For Goodspeed, Pflieger's scores fell nothing short of the expectations she had for Pflieger.
"She's a solid, consistent all-around performer that we can count on and she's just fun to coach," Goodspeed said.
Finishing in a tie for third was North Carolina State and Rutgers University (195.275) followed by George Washington University (194.650), University of Pittsburgh (194.175), University of North Carolina (194.150) and Towson University (193.375).
To senior Michado, winning as a team and an individual in one of her last meets as competitor for the Wildcats was particularly meaningful.
"It was one of the greatest feelings ever just going out like that," Michado said.
Equally as impressive as the Wildcats team performance at the EAGL championships was the number of All-Academic gymnasts competing for the Wildcats including Hannah Barile, Erin Machado, Janelle Minichiello, Jillian Hudson, Kayla Gray, Adrienne Hill, Catarina Broccoli, Lauren Brodie, Cassy Izzo, Brittany Prestia, Elissa, Solomon, Courtney Thompson, Kaylor Kelley and Jen King. The 14 Wildcats on the EAGL all-academic team led league in number of student-athletes earning the honors.
The first place performance at the EAGL championships earned the Wildcats a spot to compete in the NCAA University Park Regional Championship hosted by Penn State on Saturday, April 5 at 4 p.m.
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