DURHAM, N.H. - The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team set a team score record of 196.675 for the second time this season as they defeated Towson (195.800) Saturday afternoon at Lundholm Gymnasium in front of a crowd senior day of 1,029. Freshman Amanda Hall (Bremerton, Wash.) tied as the top all-around with Towson's Kristen Presutti with a 39.450.
"This is outstanding (scoring a 196.675)," said Head Coach Gail Goodspeed. "We used to be happy with just hitting a 195.00, hitting a 196.675 is beyond my expectations. I knew this team was good, but they are performing past my exceptions. I always knew this team could perform past a 195.00, and now they are believing it and doing it."
Before this season, New Hampshire's highest team score was 195.825 against Central Michigan in 1997. This season, the team is performing on a national level, scoring above a 195.800 or above for three consecutive meets.
"We have the opportunity to move into the top 18 in the country with performance like this for the next three meets," commented Goodspeed on the outlook for the remaining part of the season.
The Wildcats dominated the meet from the very beginning. Junior Brie McNamera (Haymarket, Va.) started UNH off on vault with a 9.70 and the scores only improved from there. Hall was the top finisher on vault as she scored a 9.90.
New Hampshire shined on bars for the second week. Juniors Tara Phillips (Spring, Texas)(9.825) and Mellory Giberson (Bingham, Maine)(9.825) and Hall (9.850) set new season highs as Towson edged the Wildcats 49.100 to 49.050.
Senior assistant captain Jen Dickson (Salisbury, Md.) continues to improve with every meet. Dickson set a new personal record on beam, to lead the Wildcats to a 49.275 team total. Sophomore Vanessa Berrios (Long Pond, Pa.) and Hall also set new personal records with scores of 9.850 and 9.875, respectively.
UNH ended the meet on floor and ended it in a big way as they counted a low score of 9.775 by Hall. Senior captain Michelle Harley (Collegeville, Pa.) performed an amazing floor routine in front of her last home crowd as a Wildcat, scoring a 9.800 to help carry New Hampshire to their biggest victory in school history.
New Hampshire had three all-around performances above a 39.00, (Hall - 39.450, Dickson - 39.425, James - 39.125) which shows the strength and depth of this year's team.
New Hampshire travels to West Virginia on March 14 to compete against WVA, Florida, and Rhode Island. The meet begins at 7 p.m.