Gymnastics: Goodspeed proud of team's accomplishments

By Sam Donnelly
On April 11, 2014

Despite coming in fifth place at the NCAA University Park Regional Championship at Penn State University's Recreation Hall last Saturday, April 5, the No. 25 UNH gymnastics team finished its season in the top 25 for first time since 1994.

According to the head coach, it wasn't the talent of the team, but instead their attitude. 

"I've said this multiple times," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "This isn't the most talented team I've had. There's an internal motivation with this team that I've never had. Best team ever in terms of the competition. Best team ever." 

Entering the weekend at No. 23, the Wildcats were pitted against No. 1 Florida, No. 12 Penn State, No. 21 Kentucky, Maryland, and No. 13 Oregon State. The Wildcats scored a 195.025, .900 points behind fourth place Kentucky and 2.025 behind Florida, which took first.

The Wildcats jumped out early after the first rotation, scoring a 48.850 on floor exercise, putting them in second place. Hannah Barile performed a strong set on floor with a score of 9.825, which tied her for 20th. Erin Machado and Kelsey Aucoin weren't far behind, scoring a 9.800 and a 9.750, respectively. 

"Starting on floor was tough," Goodspeed said. "After us the judges' scores escalated on floor and that hurt us."

The Wildcats grabbed first place after the second rotation after scoring strongly on vault with a 49.100, which was their second highest vault score of the season. Meghan Pflieger scored a team high and tied a personal high of 9.875, which put her is seventh place. Adrienne Hill followed with a strong 9.825, which also tied her career high. 

The Wildcats slid to fourth place during the third set due to a bye, leaving Penn State to take the overall lead with a 98.350. 

UNH came back to the mat facing the event of uneven bars. Pflieger and Lauren Brodie both tied with a team high score of 9.750. The Wildcats were able to crawl back into third place after bars, but a team score of 48.550 was not enough to keep Kentucky from jumping ahead the Wildcats with an overall score of 146.875. 

"For whatever reason, our dismounts on bars were not solid," Goodspeed said. "We didn't pay attention to the details."

The final rotation was beam for the Wildcats. Kayla Gray anchored UNH with a score of 9.800 to claim ninth place overall. Aucoin chipped in with a 9.750 while Hill scored a 9.725. 

In the end, the Wildcats could not keep pace with the number one team in the country. The Florida Gators won the meet with a score of 197.050. Penn State (196.725), Oregon State (196.525) and Kentucky (195.925) also finished in front of the Wildcats. 

As the team moves into the offseason, preparation for next year begins. For Goodspeed, it's time to get hungry.

"Football and basketball teams compete against other teams, we compete against ourselves," Goodspeed said. "The hunger that I have for the team is for every individual to improve. When the individual improves the team improves. Individuals make up a score."

The Wildcats will be adding three scholarship recruits for the upcoming 2014- 2015 season. Each of them has won their respective state club championship. Lia Breeden of Pennsylvania, Marissa Toci of New Jersey, and Casey Lauter of New York will all be joining the Wildcats in this upcoming winter. 

"All three are very talented," Goodspeed said. "And all three will be in a position to compete for a job in each event for us."

Even though the Wildcats fell short of the national championship, the season truly was one to remember.

"It was a great season," Goodspeed said. "I loved this team."

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