DURHAM, N.H.-- The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team received a bid today to compete at the NCAA Northeast Regional Championship, which will be held at Penn State's Rec Hall on Saturday, April 3 at 6 p.m.
The sixth-seeded Wildcats, ranked 33rd in the nation in the latest national polls with a regional qualifying score of 195.735, will compete against No. 1 seed Georgia (4th in the nation, 197.620 rqs), No. 2 Iowa State (9th in the nation, 197.210 rqs), No. 3 Missouri (16th in the nation, 196.850 rqs), No. 4 Michigan (19th in the nation, 196.750 rqs) and No. 5 Penn State (28th in the nation, 195.915 rqs).
"We are extremely thrilled to have yet another opportunity to compete at the NCAA Northeast Regionals and to possibly have a chance to make nationals," said 25th-year head coach Gail Goodspeed. "The competition around the nation continues to get tougher and the team scores are higher I have said all season long that this is the best team we have ever had at UNH. It is very easy for everyone to take regionals for granted, but I know that our team is focused and ready to compete against some of the top teams in the nation."
UNH has had a long history of advancing to the NCAA regional championship under the direction of Goodspeed and is considered one of the top programs in the Northeast. During her career, the Wildcats have appeared in all 22 NCAA regional championship meets and this year's will mark the 23rd appearance. The Wildcats went on to win the regional meet in 1994 and, as a result, advanced to the NCAA national championship meet and finished the season as the 12th ranked squad in the country. That marked the highest finish ever in UNH gymnastics history.
UNH has also had several individuals advance to nationals. That feat has occurred nine times during Goodspeed's tenure.
Goodspeed and her staff have also received national recognition at NCAA regional championships recently. She was named Northeast Regional Coach of the Year in 1991, 1994, 2001 and in 2003.
UNH boasts an impressive list of individuals who have been been crowned NCAA regional champions. Cara Lepper was the champion on beam in 1997; Meghan Ochs was the top performer on vault and floor in 1995; Kim Smith had the top score on floor in 1994; teammate Karen Olsson and Jana Reardon were tied as the top all-arounders in 1994; Nicole Mullins won the title on bars in 1992 and Lori Brady, who was an NCAA All-American, earned titles on vault in 1989, 1991 and 1992.
The top two teams from each regional site advance to compete at the NCAA national championship meet on April 13th-17th at UCLA. In addition, some UNH gymnasts could possibly qualify as individuals.