COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) matched a personal best with a 9.850 on floor exercise to highlight the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team's strongest event Friday night as the Wildcats finished in third place at an East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) quad-meet won by 17th-ranked Maryland.
The Terrapins (7-1-1, 5-1-1 EAGL) scored a 195.100 to defeat North Carolina State (194.600), UNH (193.300) and Towson (192.250). The Wolfpack's record now stands at 5-4-1, 2-2-1 EAGL; the Wildcats slip to 7-3, 4-2 EAGL; and the Tigers tumble to 4-7, 0-3 EAGL.
The Wildcats began the meet with three strong sets on balance beam, but tight judging held the 'Cats to an uncharacteristically low 47.100 to slip into fourth place through one rotation. Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) notched a 9.750 to collect team-high honors and second place overall.
UNH rallied back during the second rotation to score a 48.950 on floor exercise, its highest team mark of the meet. Machado headlined the Wildcats' efforts by matching her personal best with a 9.850 for a share of fifth place. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) equaled her career high with a 9.825 for a seventh-place deadlock, and Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.) set a personal-best floor score with a 9.775 (T-13th).
In the third rotation, the Wildcats hit five of their six vaults with strong showings and no falls among the counting scores for a 48.775. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) matched her personal best for the second straight meet by compiling a 9.825 to grab a share of fifth place. Courtney Connors (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored an impressive 9.800 to match her season high and an eighth-place tie.
The 'Cats concluded the competition on uneven bars, with the middle of the lineup stepping up with strong performances. Austyn Fobes (Howell, N.J.) tied Maryland's Karen Tang for first place with matching marks of 9.850. Fobes was supported by Rudiger and Gray, who shared fourth place with scores of 9.750, giving New Hampshire a team mark of 48.475.
UNH continues its three-week road trip by competing in a tri-meet at Air Force against the Falcons and Lindenwood University on Saturday, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. (EST). For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com.