NC State Picked to Finish First in East Atlantic Gymnastics League

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 4, 2012) – NC State has been picked first in the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) preseason poll. The Wolfpack earned two first-place votes.  Two-time defending league champion North Carolina was picked second, while West Virginia was selected third.

 The votes were cast by the league’s eight head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.

Ranked inside the nation’s top 25 throughout the 2011 season, the Wolpack, the 2009 league champions, earned 42 points. Sophomore Stephanie Ouellette returns to lead NCSU following a successful rookie season in which she individually qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships as an all-arounder.\

 The Tar Heels, picked second with 40 points, earned three first-place votes. UNC won its second straight league title last season, marking the second time in five years the squad secured back-to-back championships (2006-06). Zoya Johnson and Morgan Evans return for their senior seasons poised to collect more EAGL individual titles.

 The Mountaineers, the 2008 EAGL champions, are picked to finish third in the league with 38 points; WVU earned two first-place votes. The Mountaineers lost 2011 EAGL Gymnast and Outstanding Senior of the Year Amy Bieski to graduation and will rely on a young roster, led by sophomore Hope Sloanhoffer. WVU will be guided this year by first-year coach Jason Butts.

Maryland (34 points) and New Hampshire (31 points) round out the top five, with the Wildcats securing the final first-place vote. Pitt (16 points), Rutgers (14 points) and George Washington (9 points) were ranked sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.

 The 2012 season opens this weekend with five teams in action. The Panthers will host the 2012 EAGL Championship on Saturday, March 24, at 2 p.m., at Fitzgerald Field House, in Pittsburgh, Pa. NCAA Regional Championships will be held on April 7 at six different locations, while the 2012 NCAA National Championships will be held April 20-22, in Duluth, Ga.