DURHAM, N.H. – Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) scored a 9.875 on balance beam to register the top score in that event, and the University of New Hampshire gymnastics team posted a 193.700 to finish as runner-up to 24th-ranked Minnesota (196.025) in Sunday's Wildcat Invitational at Lundholm Gymnasium.
Brown (192.550) finished in third place and Yale (187.500) placed fourth in the home opener for UNH (2-2, 0-1 East Atlantic Gymnastics League).
"Considering how many of our athletes were battling the flu this week, I was pleased that we were actually healthy enough to have everyone here," head coach Gail Goodspeed said. "Our vaulting was great, but we had to count falls on both beam and floor that kept us from our goal of a 195.00."
Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) led the Wildcats on vault in the opening rotation with a personal-best 9.850 for a share of fourth place. Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va.), who was presented the meet's Katie Baldwin Expression Award, scored a 9.750 to share eighth place with three other gymnasts, including Wildcat freshman Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas). The Gophers swept the top three vault placements, with Lindsay Mable (9.925) taking first while Kylie Schermann (9.900) and Jenny Covers (9.900) tied for second. New Hampshire's 48.900 team mark on vault was its highest score of the meet; Minnesota scored a 49.375.
The second rotation was difficult for the Wildcats, who scored a 48.025 on uneven bars for their lowest mark of the afternoon. Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.) led the way with a 9.725 (T-9th). Jessica Gracia (9.700/Bahama, N.C.) and Lauren Brodie (9.675/Mogadore, Ohio) each scored a career high. Cierra Tomson of Minnesota scored a 9.900 for first place, followed by her teammates Madie Hanley and Lindsay Mable, who each tallied a 9.825 to share second place with Brown's Alexandra Chretien. The Gophers won bars with a 49.100.
Gray, who was held to only one event while returning from illness, made the most of her beam routine by hitting for a 9.875 to lead UNH to an event-winning 48.275. Hill amassed a 9.800 to tie Schermann for second place. Pflieger and Mable tallied matching 9.775 marks to share fourth place.
The 'Cats closed the quad-meet with a 48.500 on floor exercise. Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) scored a career-high 9.875 for third place, while Rudiger grabbed a share of sixth place with a 9.825. Pflieger made it three-for-three in personal bests by scoring a 9.800 for an eighth-place tie. Schermann and Mable shared floor's top mark (9.925).
Mable was the all-around champion (39.450), followed by Tomson (39.050) and Covers (38.825).
"We showed improvement from last week," Goodspeed said. "Now we just have to keep climbing the ladder."
UNH travels to the University of Pittsburgh for an EAGL meet against the Panthers on Saturday, Jan. 25, at 1 p.m. The Wildcats return to Lundholm Gym to square off with Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. For more information, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.