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Wildcats third in Utah tri-meet

The Wildcat gymnastics team placed third in a tri-meet with Utah State University and Brigham Young University on Friday night, recording a score of 193.825.

UNH was limited in lineup choices. Only 14 athletes made the trip, a decision dictated in part by travel costs and in part by injuries, which once again cost the ‘Cats.

“We were missing both our top performer on bars, Danielle Mulligan, who suffered a concussion in practice last week and our top performer on beam, Casey Lauter, who is still recovering from a stress fracture,” UNH head coach Gail Goodspeed said.

In a surprising twist, the lineup that recorded the highest score for the Wildcats was the vault. UNH tallied a score of 48.825 on the apparatus, with all six gymnasts recording at least a 9.700. Freshman Erin Carroll and sophomore Elizabeth Mahoney were the top Wildcats, with scores of 9.825 and 9.800, respectively.

Carroll’s performance was a new career-high, and was also good for second place overall in the meet. Only BYU’s Sin To recorded a higher score, edging Carroll with a 9.850.

The Wildcats started the meet on beam, where they’ve been among the nation’s best all season. But two falls forced the team to count a low score, and the team got off to a rocky start, recording a 47.850 on the event.

UNH’s Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) on beam is a 49.220, and the team has averaged a 48.918 on the event this season. Friday’s meet marked the lowest score the team has recorded all season.

“Basically, we struggled on our first event, beam,” Goodspeed said of the score. Despite the bad night, UNH is still the No. 7 team on beam in the country and the team bounced back for the other events.

After beam, the team transitioned to floor exercises. In their last meet, the Wildcats had five gymnasts score 9.850 marks on floor, but the floor routines cooled off a bit on Friday night. The team scored 48.400 points, though Meghan Pflieger impressed with a solid 9.800 showing to lead the squad.

To end the night, the Wildcats competed on the uneven bars, an event that UNH has done well in all season. The Wildcats turned in a solid effort with the limited lineup, though Goodspeed noted that Mulligan’s absence was felt on the apparatus.

Jennifer King had the top score of 9.850 for the Wildcats, who had four other gymnasts reach the 9.700 range or better.

The 193.825 mark was not enough to overcome BYU or host Utah State. BYU recorded a strong 195.500 score, and is now ranked a single spot behind UNH in the national standings at No. 31. Utah State won the meet with a 196.025 and is eyeing a spot at the NCAA Regional Meet with a No. 32 ranking nationally.

“Both Utah State and BYU were excellent teams and this meet was going to come down to the team that hit 24 for 24 [routines],” Goodspeed said. “Unfortunately, that was not UNH on this night.”

UNH is currently ranked No. 30 in the country and has one meet left before the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships at Pittsburgh. UNH travels to Texas Woman’s University to take on the Pioneers, the Louisiana State University Tigers and the Oregon State University Beavers on March 12 at 7 p.m.

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