DURHAM, N.H.-- The University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team has announced the signing of four student-athletes to letters of intent. They are expected to join the team in the fall of 2004.
"This program has a long tradition of competing at the national level," said head coach Gail Goodspeed. "The addition of these four recruits to our roster should help make us a very competitive squad in 2004."
"Interest in UNH gymnastics thoughout the country has never been stronger," said associate head coach Ed Datti." The student-athletes we have coming in next year will keep our team going in a positive direction, and we are looking forward to a bright future for UNH women's gymnastics."
The UNH coaching staff utilized a nation-wide recruiting strategy and as a result this year's batch of new recruits hail from four different regions of the country.
Beth Bronson comes to UNH from Jacksonville, Fla., where she competed for North Florida Gymnastics under Mary Purvis. A level 10 athlete with national experience, Bronson has competed at the national championship with top 10 finishes on beam and bars at that level. Described as a clean and precise gymnast, she brings a high degree of difficulty for UNH in all events. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and appears in the "Who's Who of American High School Students". Her leadership and consistency make her a valuable addition to the roster.
Fairen Plummer, a level 10 athlete from Scottsdale, Ariz., competed for the Phoenix Gymnastics Academy under Mike and Donna Payne and Jerry Hinkle. An experienced national level competitor, she finished third in the all-around and was the level 10 bars champion at the national championships in 2002. Plummer brings high-level skills in all four events and the UNH coaching staff is looking forward to working with her as she learns and improves her already impressive gymnastics abilities.
Rebekah Porter, who is from Valparaiso, Ind., is another level 10 gymnast who also has experience in the elite ranks, as she finished 11th in the all-around competition at the 2000 U.S. Challenge. In addition to being an outstanding competitor, she was a member of the National Honor Society and was a high honors student. Porter competes for the Valparaiso High School gymnastics program, where she is the current state high school all-around champion. She is coached at VHS by Lorie Cook. According to the UNH coaching staff, Porter is a powerful acrobat and features high-flying, exciting gymnastics that the UNH fans will enjoy watching during meets next season.
Christa Tafaro, a native of Jackson, N.J., is also a level 10 gymnast who competed for the Worldwide Gymnastics Club, and she has been a state all-around and floor exercise champion as well as a regional balance beam champion. She is coached by Bruce Petty and Maggie Haney. Tafaro brings a style and performance expression that the UNH gymnastics crowd will appreciate. According to the coaching staff, Tafaro's style ranks her among some of the best to ever compete for UNH gymnastics.
"Our program can continue to move up the national rankings with the addition of these student-athletes," said Datti. "They all come from great backgrounds and can compete at the highest level."
Fans who want to get an early glimpse of this year's Wildcat squad are invited to attend a "Meet The Team" exhibition and clinic on Dec. 13 at 1 p.m. in the UNH Field House. UNH's first regular season meet is set for Jan. 16 when the squad entertains the University of Missouri at 7 p.m. in Lundholm Gymnasium.