UNH gymnastics team signs three recruits

DURHAM, N.H.-- Gail Goodspeed, 26th-year head coach of the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team, announced Monday that Justine Turner (Salem, N.H.), Melissa Cesar Estevez (Valencia, Valenzuela) and Lindsay Kovary (Huntington Station, N.Y.) have signed a National Letter of Intent to attend UNH and compete for the Wildcats beginning in the 2006 season.

Turner attends Salem High School, competes for the Atlantic Gymnastics club team (Portsmouth, N.H.) and has been a Level 10 National competitor in 2004, 2001, 2000 and 1999. Among her accomplishments are 2004 and 2001 New Hampshire state champion and a second-place finish on vault at the 2004 Jr. Olympic Nationals, as well as Region 6 Regional champion in 2001.Turner qualified for the National Team Training Camp in 2001 and 2000, and was a National Elite selection in 2001.

"Justine is one of the best gymnasts to come out of New Hampshire," Goodspeed said. "She is a powerful athlete who can perform exciting, dynamic skills on all four events. She is outstanding on vault and floor, and she will make an impact in the all-around.

"We are very excited to have a New Hampshire student-athlete compete at the highest collegiate level," Goodspeed added. "Justine is a fun athlete to watch, and we are sure her gymnastics skill will be appreciated and enjoyed by our fans."

Kovary competes at Walt Whitman High School, where she earned first place in floor and broke the county all-around record at the 2004 Suffolk County high school finals. She has been a Level 10 USAG nationals competitor in Region 6 since 2002 and last year won the all-around at the Senior A Regionals. Kovary, a member of the Exper-Tiess Gymnastics club team (St. James, N.Y.), also placed in the top six to make the National Team representing Region 6 at the USAGA Nationals in both 2003 and 2002.

"Lindsay is a talented and highly motivated student-athlete," Goodspeed said. "She has a great deal of experience and a drive to succeed. This should lead to a great career at UNH. Our coaching staff really enjoyed meeting Lindsay during the recruiting process and we look forward to having the opportunity to coach her. Her style and solid performance experience will help immensely."

Cesar Estevez has competed on the Venezuelan National Team for a number of years and will be reunited with Wildcat junior Mariana Pena-Trestini (Valencia, Valenzuela).

"Melissa has a great deal of high-level experience," Goodspeed said. "She competes an international style and skill level that will be a great addition to a talented class of student-athletes. Melissa's uneven bar work is world class, and her routine will be one of the best in the country. She is also very talented on the other three events and should be a top all-around gymnast for UNH."

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