The UNH gymnastics team had its season come to an end in Gainesville, Florida on Saturday, April 1 as the team placed sixth in the NCAA Gainesville Regional.
The Wildcats finished with a score of 194.175 as the University of Florida won the meet with a total of 197.125. Florida and second-place University of Georgia (196.775) will both move on to the National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Championship in St. Louis, Missouri, on April 14-15.
Florida came into the regional as the No. 3 ranked team in the country, while Georgia entered ranked No. 10. UNH was No. 30 entering the regional after finishing in second place at the Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships on March 18.
UNH entered the meet as the fourth seed, but finished in last as Missouri took third place, Penn State finished in fourth and EAGL member North Carolina finished just ahead of the Wildcats in fifth. The ‘Cats received quality performances from senior co-captain Meghan Pflieger and sophomore Danielle Doolin.
Doolin led the Wildcats in the floor exercise, scoring a 9.825, and the all-around with a score of 38.800. The sophomore’s all-around score was good for 11th overall at the meet. Pflieger finished with an all-around score of 38.600 and scored a team-high 9.825 on the balance beam and 9.750 on the uneven bars. Saturday marked the fifth straight meet in which Pflieger led her team in multiple events.
Sophomore Danielle Mulligan had her lowest scoring output on the uneven bars all season as she scored a 9.725, still good for second on the team. Mulligan also was substituted out of the balance beam during pre-meet warmups because she was battling a bad cold. Sophomore Brittany Capozzi replaced her on the balance beam and scored a 9.725 for the Wildcats.
With the season over, the Wildcats must say goodbye to their three seniors, Pflieger, Jessica Gracia and Jennifer King. Pflieger had an outstanding UNH career that includes the 2015 EAGL Gymnast of the Year award, the 2017 EAGL Senior Gymnast of the Year award and a career-high of 39.400 in the all-around.
King, Pflieger’s co-captain, ended her Wildcat career with a 9.625 on the uneven bars in Gainesville and a career-high on the bars of 9.850. Gracia also participated on the bars on Saturday, scoring a 9.575 in her final appearance. Gracia’s career-high on the bars was a 9.825. All three seniors received multiple academic accolades throughout their careers from EAGL as well.
UNH should once again be competitors in EAGL next season. Doolin will return to lead the team in the all-around while Mulligan will be primed to continue her dominance of the uneven bars. Junior Casey Lauter has a very productive season on the balance beam, including a 9.900 at the EAGL Championships, and should be a force in the conference next season as well.
Head coach Gail Goodspeed’s team has now finished runner-up in the EAGL Championships for the last three seasons and will be back in 2018 looking for a conference title and another NCAA playoff berth.