Amanda Hall Advances to NCAA Nationals As An All-Arounder
The highlight of the meet was the outstanding efforts of senior all-arounder Amanda Hall (Bermerton, Wash.), who not only placed third in the all-around with a score of 39.25, but as the top all-arounder not from a team that advanced, she is invited to compete as an individual at the NCAA Women's Gymnastics National Championships held on April 20-22 at Oregon State. In addition, had Hall not advanced as an all-arounder, she would have been invited to nationals as the NCAA Northeast champion in the floor exercise with the top score of 9.9. Hall presently holds the UNH record in the floor exercise with a 9.975, a mark she recorded twice in 2005.
Only the top two teams from the meet advance to the NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships. Winning the meet was No. 9 Michigan (196.0), followed by No. 2 Utah with a 195.7. No. 14 Auburn finished third (193.05), followed by UNH, Pittsburgh (190.9) and Rutgers (188.975).
The Wildcats, by the luck of the draw, began the meet on bars, continued onto beam, had a bye, competed on floor, spent the fifth rotation on vault and had a bye in the final sixth rotation.
On bars UNH was hurt by two scores under 9.0, but was led by senior all-arounder Amanda Hall (Bremerton, Wash.) who recorded a 9.725. Also performing well for the 'Cats was junior Heather Moore (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y. with a judgement of 9.575. As a team the Wildcats posted a team score of 46.925.
UNH then immediately moved to its nemesis event of the season, beam. The Wildcats had struggled in the first half of the season, suffering multiple falls, but came on strong down the stretch. All six gymnasts posted scores above a 9.3 and the squad had just one fall. Leading the way in the event for UNH was Hall once again with a team-high mark of 9.75. Also shining in her first NCAA appearance was freshman Melissa Cesar (Valencia, Venezuela), who recorded a 9.725 after a strong routine.
Following a bye, UNH moved to the floor exercise, where the team posted higher scores than the previous two events as the Wildcats looked to take over fourth-place in the meet. Michigan, Utah and Auburn had posted scores of 98.225, 97.9 and 9.775 through three rotations. UNH had a 95.350, followed by EAGL opponents Pittsburgh (95.075) and Rutgers (93.925). The Wildcats solidified fourth place after an inspiring floor routine by Hall, who recorded a 9.9 for first-place overall that had the crowd cheering. Senior Mariana Pena Trestini (Valencia, Venezuela) and sophomore Fairen Plummer (Louisville, Ky.) each recorded impressive marks of 9.7.
UNH needed to hit its routines on vault to hang onto fourth in the 'Cats final event and they accomplished just that, not counting any score under 9.6. Hall was the high-scorer once again, posting a 9.875 to tie for second overall, followed by sophomore Zoe Magiros (Parsippany, N.J.) with a 9.725.
Local freshman gymnast Justine Turner (Salem, N.H.) showed no fear in her first NCAA appearance, posting a 9.65 on beam, a 9.6 on floor and a 9.575 in the vault.