UNH GYMNASTICS TEAM OPENS 2001 SEASON WITH A VICTORY OVER RUTGERS

DURHAM, N.H.-The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team opened the season in style on Sunday afternoon, posting a decisive 191.700-188.375 victory over Rutgers University in front of 401 fans at Lundholm Gymnasium.

The Wildcats clinched the win in the final rotation, as the squad posted a 49.30 team score in the floor exercise. Leading the way on the floor was senior Rose Kosowski (Whitesboro, N.Y.) who recorded the highest judgement of the afternoon in any event with a mark of 9.925. Senior Wendy Wheaton (Rockville, Md.) was not far behind in the floor exercise, placing second overall with a 9.9. All of the UNH scores were at least 9.8 or higher and UNH reeled in the top five spots in the event overall.

In the all-around, sophomore Jen Dickson (Salisbury, Md.) led all gymnasts in what is her first season of competition for the Wildcats. Dickson posted a four-event total of 38.750 and was the only gymnast to top the 38.00 mark on the afternoon. Also making an impact in the all-around for UNH was senior Suzanne Poretz (Alexandria, Va.), as she checked in with a 37.550, good for third place overall.

Dickson took first-place honors on balance beam for the meet with a 9.725, however, the Scarlet Knights rounded out the top four. On bars, UNH was solid, taking the top four scores in the meet. Leading the way was Wheaton, who led all gymnasts with a 9.875. She was followed by sophomore Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) with a 9.825 and by a solid performance from sophomore Erin Malinak (Pittsburgh, Pa.) who nailed a 9.8.

Harley was the top vaulter in the meet with a 9.750, followed closely in second place by Dickson with a score of 9.725.

During the awards ceremony, Wheaton received the first-ever Katie Baldwin Spirit Award. The award, which will be presented at every home meet, is named after Baldwin, a former UNH gymnast who passed away this fall after suffering a pulmonary embolism. With the win, the Wildcats improve to 1-0 on the season, while Rutgers falls to 0-1. UNH will return to action on Jan. 14 at North Carolina State with Arizona. That meet begins at 2 p.m.

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