DURHAM, N.H.– Senior co-captain Chelsea Steinberg (Ridgewood, N.J.) was named team MVP for the second consecutive season, and Ali Carr (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) were named 2011-12 co-captains at the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team's annual postseason banquet Sunday at Holloway Commons on the UNH campus.
Steinberg, who earned East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) All-Tournament First Team honors on balance beam, floor exercise and all-around while securing All-EAGL Second Team on vault, beam and all-around during her senior campaign, was also awarded the Gatos Award for her commitment to the University's strength and conditioning program. She departs UNH with 1,531.2 career points, ranked seventh all-time in school history. That included a team-leading 520.5 points this season when she posted the top event score 11 times, tops among the Wildcats. Season highlights included a personal-best 9.9 on vault at No. 24 LSU on March 4 and first place in floor exercise and all-around at the UNH Invitational on Feb. 12.
The Katie Baldwin Academic Excellence Award was bestowed upon junior Danielle Reibold (Horsham, Pa.) in recognition of her classroom commitment. Reibold, a biomedical science major, boasts the highest grade point average on the squad with a cumulative 3.79. The All-EAGL First Team performer on uneven bars is a three-time member of the EAGL All-Academic Team and has been on the Dean's List all five semesters she has spent on the Durham campus.
Sophomore Jen Aucoin (Mullica Hill, N.J.) received the Most Improved Award after a breakout season as a competitor on uneven bars and balance beam. Aucoin established a personal-best 9.85 to share the high score in bars at the University of Arizona in a quad meet with BYU and Texas Woman's University on March 11. Her tie for second place on bars at the EAGL Championship at George Washington University on March 19 earned her an All-Tournament First Team berth and was instrumental in UNH's second-place showing, the program's best championship finish in eight years.
Katie Lawrence (Lyme, Conn.) and Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) shared the team's Most Inspirational Award. Lawrence, who was All-EAGL Second Team and EAGL All-Tournament First Team on balance beam, went from a sophomore walk-on two seasons ago to a senior co-captain in '11. Machado was well on her way to a remarkable freshman season, evidenced by a personal-high 9.85 in capturing first place in floor exercise against Bridgeport on Jan. 30, but a season-ending injury suffered the very next week against Michigan ended her season prematurely Feb. 5.
The banquet concluded with head coach Gail Goodspeed announcing that Carr and Connors would serve as team co-captains next season. Carr will be looking to build upon an outstanding junior season that saw her notch a spot on the EAGL All-Academic Team, All-EAGL First Team on vault, All-EAGL Second Team on bars and EAGL All-Tournament Second Team on bars. Connors, the 2010 Katie Baldwin Academic Excellence Award winner and a two-time member of the EAGL All-Academic Team, was a standout performer on vault this season, earning first place at Pittsburgh on Jan. 23 by tying her personal best of 9.825. The sophomore also set a career high on floor exercise at the UNH Invitational by tallying a 9.8, tying for second place Feb. 12.
Student assistant coach Taryn Archambault (Tewksbury, Mass.) and student intern Janae Sernoffsky (Elizabethtown, Pa.) were both presented with the Coaches Award for their outstanding contributions to the program.
The banquet included the annual recognition of the 9.5 Club members, established by the late Robert Houston, Sr., the Wildcats' number one fan. This year's recipients were Aucoin, Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.), Katie Caliendo (Manorville, N.Y.), Carr, Connors, Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.), Jillian Hudson (Sparkill, N.Y.), Dianna Kurowyckyj (New York, N.Y.), Lawrence, Machado, Kate McGeever (Saco, Maine), Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.), Tasia Percevecz (Fountain Hills, Ariz.), Reibold and Steinberg.
For more information on the UNH gymnastics team, visit www.unhwildcats.com.