Wildcat gymnastics roars at Cat Classic placing second

COLUMBIA, M.O. - The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team placed second with a score of 195.100 on Saturday night at the Cat Classic hosted by the University of Missouri, defeating No. 10 University of Arizona (194.575) and No. 20 Brigham Young University (192.850). The University of Missouri took the top spot with a score of 195.875.

"We had a great meet," said Head Coach Gail Goodspeed. "It would have great to win, but it was nice to perform as well as we did at their home court. "

The Wildcats began the meet on bars. Senior captain Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) was the highest finishing Wildcat with a score of 9.800, placing her seventh on the event.

For the second rotation UNH was on beam, where the 'Cats rebounded quickly from the slow start on bars. Senior assistant captain Jen Dickson (Salisbury, Md.) took third place with a 9.875, a season high. Harley followed with 9.850 for fifth place, while sophomore Vanessa Berrios (Long Pond, Pa.) placed seventh with a season high 9.800.

Next the Wildcats competed on floor, scoring a team season high 49.000. Harley placed second with a 9.850. Sophomore Vanessa James (Malden, Mass.) and freshman Amanda Hall (Bremerton, Wash.) set new season highs with 9.825 and 9.800 respectively. Dickson placed ninth with a 9.775.

"The girls all performed well under pressure tonight," said Goodspeed. "They knew what had to be done and were up to the challenge. "

New Hampshire finished the meet on vault, which has been on of their strongest events this season. Hall led the way for the 'Cats with a 9.850,tying her for second place. Junior Tara Phillips (Springs, Texas) finished tied for ninth with a 9.800.

The Wildcats had two top five finishes in the all-around. Harley placed fourth with a 39.150, while Dickson placed fifth with a 39.050.

Tomorrow night the event finals will take place and five different gymnasts will represent the Wildcats, as the top ten finishers will compete for each event. On vault Phillips and Hall will compete for UNH, while Harley will compete on bars and beam. Dickson and Berrios will also compete on beam.

The Wildcats return home to host the Fox Run Invitational, Saturday , February 15th at the Whittemore Center Arena. The meet begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Whittemore Center Arena Box Office (603) 868-4000.

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