DURHAM-N.H.--The University of New Hampshire women’s gymnastics team kicked off the 2006-2007 season with its “Meet the Team” event at the Lundholm Gymnasium on December 2nd.  The Blue vs. White intra-squad meet allowed the Wildcats to debut their competitive routines in front of a crowd and give the fans a sneak peek into the upcoming season.  Also, UNH introduced its freshman class of Kelsey Alwin (St. Michael, Minn.), Helena Diodati (Scarborough, Maine), Diane Grey (Spring, T.X.), Taryn LaFountain (Utica, N.Y.), Jennifer Liston (N. Yarmouth, Maine), and Keeley Smith (University Place, Wash.).

    The format of the competition consisted of one white team member and one blue team member performing back to back on an event.  The judges (volunteer alumnae or fans) would then vote for which performance was best.  In the end, the blue team came out on top, narrowly passing by the white team with xx to xx votes.

    On vaulting, Alwin and senior Heather Moore (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) both nailed full-twisting Yurchenkos, the most difficult vault of the day.  Sophomore Justine Turner (Salem, N.H.) also stood out with a huge layout Yurchenko.  She will be adding a full twist for competition – a vault that earned her a career high of 9.85 in her rookie season.

    Moving to the uneven bars, Moore and juniors Rebekah Porter (Valparaiso, Ind.) and Beth Bronson (Jacksonville, Fla.) completed the top three routines of the day.  Both Moore and Porter caught Tkachev releases, while Bronson completed a blind-full to Gienger combination and a Pak salto.  Moore’s stuck landing on her double layout dismount made her routine a fan favorite.

    The Wildcats had several strong showings on balance beam, demonstrating a variety of difficult skills.  Senior captain Jennifer Jones (Billerica, Mass.) led the team’s efforts with her hit set that included back handspring-layout-back handspring series.  Melissa Cesar, a sophomore from Valencia, Venezuela worked effortlessly through her roundoff layout step-out mount, back handspring layout, side somi, and roundoff double twist dismount.  In addition, sophomore Lindsay Kovary (Huntington Station, N.Y.) and freshman Keeley Smith were solid performers.

    Finally, on the floor exercise, the team showed strong tumbling and unveiled several newly choreographed routines.  Turner wowed the crowd with her tucked full-in and double pike, while Porter nailed her new first pass of whip through to double tuck.  Rounding out the top three performers was Moore, whose clean set of double pike, front double twist to punch front, and rudi, will be a major asset for the ‘Cats.

    At the conclusion of the competition over seventy young gymnasts stayed for a one hour clinic taught by the UNH team. 

    The Wildcats will return to the Lundholm Gymnasium on January 6th for their season opener against Rutgers.  The competition will be held at 7:00 P.M.
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