Vanessa Berrios to Compete at Nationals

Vanessa Berrios

DURHAM, N.H.---Senior co-captain Vanessa Berrios (Long Pond, Pa.) was part of a five-way tie for first place on beam and earned herself a trip to the NCAA national competition, as the University of New Hampshire women's gymnastics team placed third in the Northeast Regional with a score of 194.7 Saturday night at UNH's Whittemore Center.

The Wildcats' third-place finish wasn't enough for the team to advance as a whole to the NCAA Championship. Louisiana State, ranked No. 3 in the nation, earned the first-place title with a team score of 197.125 and the 10th-ranked University of Oklahoma placed second with a 195.55. Yet the 'Cats were able to fight their way into a respectable position, beating out 15th-ranked Arkansas (193.95), Pittsburgh (193.1), and Rutgers (191.35).

The 'Cats, who were competing in their 24th consecutive NCAA regional, started the competition off on the uneven bars and hit five of their six routines. Junior Mariana Pena Trestini (Valencia, Venezuela) was the top finisher for the squad with a 9.65. Seniors Lindsay Berrios (Long Pond, Pa.) and Vanessa James (Malden, Mass.), as well as freshman Rebekah Porter (Valparaiso, Ind.), shared tying scores of 9.575.

The Wildcats seemed to have ironed out all of their troubles on beam as every gymnast hit their routine. V. Berrios shared a five-way tie for first place in the event and earned herself a trip to the NCAA championship with a score of 9.85. The accomplishment marks the first time since 2001 that head coach Gail Goodspeed has brought an athlete to such a high level of competition. L. Berrios, junior Amanda Hall (Bremerton, Wash.), and sophomore Jaime deMello (Milton, Mass.) were UNH's next-highest finishers with matching scores of 9.75.

The 'Cats had one of their best performances of the season on floor, finishing with a total 49.025 in the event. Hall shared a four-way tie for second place with her near-perfect score of 9.9. Pena Trestini (9.875) and Porter (9.8) rounded out the top three finishers for UNH.

UNH ended the night on vault with a solid performance all around. Hall earned her second 9.9 of the night, a score that placed her fourth. Freshman Zoe Magiros (Parsippany, N.J.) had UNH's second-highest finish of the night with a 9.8, while deMello and V. Berrios had matching 9.75s for the 'Cats.

Although most of the team ended their season tonight, Goodspeed and V. Berrios will head to Auburn University on April 21st for one more event performance.

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