UNC Places Third at Sweetheart Invitational

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The North Carolina gymnastics team posted a final score of 193.650 to finish third tonight in NC State’s annual Sweetheart Invitational. Haley Watts placed second in the all-around, ahead of NC State standout and EAGL’s number one ranked all-arounder, Brittni Watkins.

Carolina finished one solid point ahead of William & Mary, but fell just short to George Washington, which earned a 193.750 to place third. EAGL top ranked NC State finished first with a score of 196.050, defeating all three teams by a large margin.

The Tar Heels began the meet on bars with enthusiasm and has some strong individual routines. Freshman Megan Marenghi outdid herself from last week to earn a new personal best of 9.825. Her score would be the highest for the Heels, but Watts followed close behind with a 9.800. Acacia Cosentino posted a solid 9.775, and Sarah Peterson added a 9.750. Unfortunately, the team score was hindered by Lexi Cappalli and Josselyn Mackey, who both suffered uncharacteristic falls.

Carolina performed best this evening on the balance beam. Janell Sargent, who has been the team’s consistent and dependable anchor on beam this season, scored a 9.850 that placed her in a three-way tie for first. Watts, Mackey and Meredith Magjuka all scored a 9.800, while Cappalli redeemed herself to earn a 9.775 and Marenghi scored the same to tie her personal best from last week.
Even though the Heels had scored a 48.100 on bars, almost an entire point lower than last week, they came back strong with six solid routines on beam to end round two in second place with a combined score of 97.125.

“We had six strong routines from each of our athletes [on beam], but Janell Sargent has always been our anchor. And she had a very nice performance tonight,” said Head Coach Derek Galvin. “Balance beam was very encouraging for us, and if we can get bars back up to what it was, we should be okay.”

The Tar Heels next moved on to the floor exercise to kick off round three. They struggled with this event last week, suffering penalties for falls and stepping out of bounds, but made improvement tonight. Senior co-captain Kristin Aloi started for the Heels, making her meet’s debut, and earning a 9.650. Peterson performed second and added a 9.575, as did Cosentino, who competed officially for her first time on floor in two years. Margaret Brown, who has really had to step up recently due to health issues on the team, performed well and scored a 9.500.

“Margaret has been helping us out a lot. She had a good floor routine tonight, and her score would have even been a little higher if she hadn’t stepped out of bounds.” Said Galvin. “With Acacia, it was really exciting to see her compete again [on floor]. She not only stepped up for us on floor, but also did a really great job on bars.”

Cappalli struggled some with her floor routine, falling on her third pass that resulted in a score of 8.950. However, Watts reciprocated, nailing her routine to tie her personal best on floor with a 9.850. The Tar Heels headed into round four with a team score of 145.275.

Carolina took to the vault for its last event of the night. The Heels performed well and totaled a score of 48.375. Watts earned a 9.800 to lead the team and was followed by Peterson who scored a 9.750. Cappalli earned a 9.675, Brown and Aloi each added a 9.575, and Mackey posted a 9.525.

In the all-around, Watts finished second among the ten competitors from all four teams. She combined for a score of 39.250 on the four events, and was just half of a tenth of a point shy from finishing in first and tying her personal best of 39.300. NC State’s Brittni Watkins, who is currently ranked first for the all-around in the EAGL with a high score of 39.425, finished third.

“We’ve been trying to put together lineups with the healthiest people. Michelle Ikoma and Christina Pheil are still nursing their injuries, people are sick, and we lost a full day of practice on Thursday due to the storm,” Said Galvin. “If we can just get a few more people healthy and get some solid practice sessions in, we will continue to build, and I think we can do well [next meet].”

The Tar Heels return to action next Friday, Feb. 21 at the University of Maryland. The meet is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

NC State Gymnastics Scores Season-High 196.05 at Sweetheart Invitational

RALEIGH, N.C. – The NC State gymnastics team posted a season-best score of 196.050 to finish first in the annual Sweetheart Invitational on Saturday inside the friendly confines of Reynolds Coliseum.

George Washington finished second with a score of 193.750, while UNC (193.650) finished third and William & Mary (192.650) finished fourth.

“I thought our performance tonight was probably the best of the year,” said head coach Mark Stevenson. “I thought we performed all four events the way we were supposed to. I was impressed with Stephanie [Ouellette] and Brittni [Watkins]. I think Stephanie getting healthier is a huge boost for our team and Brittni has performed well for us all season.”

The Wolfpack would start the meet on vault, where it would finish with a team total of 49.100. Sophomore Brittni Watkins would lead the squad with a score of 9.875 to finish first, while senior Hannah Fallanca would tie her career-best score with a 9.825. Seniors Diahanna Ham and Stephanie Ouellette, as well as freshman Amanda Fillard would score a 9.800 for the Pack. Freshman Courtney Bisbe would also finish the event with a score of 9.725. The Pack finished above a 49.000 for the fourth time this season.

State would next move to the uneven parallel bars, where the squad would post a season-best mark as a team of 48.875. Watkins would once again lead the squad with a career-best score of 9.875 to finish first, while Ouellette would finish second on the podium with a score of 9.825. Jarred would score a 9.775 for State, while Michaela Woodford would post a mark of 9.750.

At the midway point of the meet, State was in first-place with a score of 97.975. The Pack was followed by UNC (97.125) in second, as well as William & Mary (96.225) and George Washington (96.150).

NC State would next move to the balance beam, where Ouellette and Jarred would lead the squad with a score of 9.850 to tie for first place in the event. Ham would post a score of 9.825, while Kristen Harabedian’s routine earned a mark of 9.775 and Fallanca finished with a 9.750. As a team, State would finish with its second highest mark of the season on the apparatus with a 49.050.

The Pack would conclude the evening on the floor exercise, where Watkins would post a score of 9.900 for the third straight competition to lead the squad and finish first overall. Jarred would post a score of 9.850 on her routine to finish second on the podium, while Ouellette finished with a 9.825. Fallanca would finish her routine with a mark of 9.750, while Harabedian and Aubrey Hine would each post scores of 9.700. As a team, State would post a score of 49.025.

In the all-around competition, Ouellette would finish first overall with a score of 39.300, while Watkins finished third on the podium with a 39.225.

Up next, the Pack will travel to Pittsburgh, Pa., for a dual meet scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The meet is set to be broadcast live on ESPN3.

GW Gymnastics Places Second at Sweetheart Invitational

RALEIGH, N.C. – Freshman Chelsea Raineri continued her vault dominance as the George Washington gymnastics team finished in second place out of four teams on Saturday night at the Sweetheart Invitational at Reynolds Coliseum.

NC State won the meet with a team score of 196.050 with the Colonials following in second place with 193.750. North Carolina took third place with 193.650 followed by William & Mary in fourth with 192.650.

Team scores for the Colonials included 49.00 on vault, 48.60 on uneven bars, 47.95 on balance beam and 48.20 on floor exercise.

Raineri extended her streak of first-place finishes on vault to six consecutive meets by scoring a 9.875 to tie for first place with NC State’s Brittni Watkins. It marks the fourth time this season out of six routines that she has scored 9.875 or better. She also scored 9.75 on uneven bars (t-9th), 9.050 on balance beam (23rd), 9.825 on floor exercise (t-4th) and 38.50 in the all-around (6th).

The Colonials had three gymnasts place in the top four on vault. In addition to Raineri, freshman Alex DeMourafinished in third with a season-high 9.85 and graduate student Kayla Carto tied for fourth place with a career-high 9.825.

DeMoura also scored a season-high on floor exercise, finishing in sixth place with a 9.80. She was joined in the top-10 on the event by Carto, who scored 9.70 in eighth place.

Senior Kiera Kenney finished tied for fifth place on uneven bars with a season-high 9.775 and also finished in a four-way tie for ninth place on balance beam with a season-high 9.775 along with classmate Betsy Zander.

The Colonials return to action on Friday night with a road trip to visit Missouri. Meet time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET from Hearnes Center.

UNH Scores Season-High 195.575 in Tri-Meet Win

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire gymnastics team scored a season-high 195.575 in defeating Brown University and Centenary College in Saturday’s Stick It for the Cure tri-meet at Lundholm Gymnasium.
UNH eclipsed the 195.000 mark for the third straight meet to up its record 6-3 on the season. Brown (7-6) placed second with a 191.600 and Centenary (1-9) totaled a 188.600.

“The 195 score is huge for us,” head coach Gail Goodspeed said. “It’s where we need to be, and we need to continue to be there. I just think we have started to gel as a team, and we know we can do it. It’s confidence.”

The Wildcats boasted the top three scorers on each of the four events. Hannah Barile (Sinking Spring, Pa.) spearheaded a team 48.850 on vault with a first-place 9.825. Meghan Pflieger (Barneveld, N.Y.) hit for a 9.800 for second place, and Adrienne Hill (Midlothian, Va.) and Kelsey Aucoin (Double Oak, Texas) shared third place (9.775).

Lauren Brodie (Mogadore, Ohio) scored a personal-best 9.825 on uneven bars to share first place with Erika Rudiger (Slidell, La.). Jannelle Minichiello (Tewksbury, Mass.), who was awarded the meet’s Katie Baldwin Expression Award, claimed third place with a 9.775, with Barile (9.750) and Pflieger (9.675) rounding out the top five. The ‘Cats compiled a season-high 48.850 on bars.

Kayla Gray (Buffalo, N.Y.) continued her superb season on balance beam with a 9.875, a first-place mark that topped all event scores and headlined UNH’s 48.825 team result. Hill finished in second place with a 9.800, and Aucoin registered a 9.775 for third place.

Aucoin capped her memorable meet with a 9.850 on floor exercise to lead all competitors. Erin Machado (Swansea, Mass.) posted a 9.825 for second place, and Minichiello and Barile shared third place (9.800) to help the Wildcats equal their season high floor score (49.050).

Pflieger was crowned all-around champion for the third consecutive meet with a 38.775. Brown’s Caroline Morant finished runner-up with a 38.700, followed by her teammate Michelle Shnayder (38.100).

The Wildcats, who have reeled off four straight victories, embark on back-to-back road meets. UNH visits EAGL foe Towson for a tri-meet that also includes William & Mary on Saturday, Feb. 22 (7 p.m.), and the ‘Cats travel to George Washington for an EAGL-only tri-meet that also features Maryland on Monday, March 3 (7 p.m.).

“What we do these next two meets will show us what we’re made of,” Goodspeed said. “If we can duplicate what we did tonight at those two meets, then I’ll feel really good.”

UNH will play host to the 2014 EAGL Championship at the Whittemore Center on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. The Wildcats challenge George Washington, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Towson. Tickets are on sale now at www.ticketmaster.com.

Terps Glide to Victory in Tri-Meet

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland gymnastics team extended its undefeated record at home with victories over Bowling Green and Yale in a tri meet Saturday afternoon. The Terps posted a team score of 194.675. Bowling Green tallied 193.875 for second and Yale totaled 188.525.

The Terps earned a quick lead after the first rotation and never lost it as they hit their routines throughout the night. Maryland had first-place individual finishes on bars, beam and floor.

“I liked how the team stuck together and fought all the way through,” head coach Brett Nelligan said. “This hasn’t been an easy year for us, but we’re finding a way to get it done.”

Stephanie Giameo totaled 39.125 and won the all-around for the second consecutive week after winning against George Washington, Pittsburgh and Towson on Monday night. Karen Tang competed in the all-around for the first time this season and posted a 38.925 for second place.

“We’re really thrilled with Karen,” Nelligan said. “She’s stepped up and now she’s an all-arounder. It’s great. We need people to step up and score. She’s working hard in the gym to be ready for her team.”

In the first rotation, the Terps posted a 48.575 on vault. Giameo notched a 9.800 for third place. Sarah Faller and Karen Tang posted a pair of 9.750s for sixth place. The score was a personal best for Faller.

Elizabethe Manzi led off the Terps on bars in the second rotation and tied her personal record with a team-best 9.800. Karen Tang and Jessie Black both hit strong routines to give the Terps the top three places in the event.

In the third rotation, Giameo took her usual spot as anchor for the Terps on beam and hit a season-best 9.875 to win first place. Faller, who led off for the Terps, nailed her routine, scoring a 9.725. Ebony Walters also hit a 9.725 and tied with Faller for fourth place.

Tang continued with the momentum she gained on the previous three rotations and hit a 9.875 on floor to tie for first place. Walters’ 9.800 earned her second place and Giameo finished fourth with a 9.775.

“We’re finally hitting our stride,” Nelligan said. “No falls last meet, no counting falls this meet. This is what we have to do this time of the year.”

The Terps finish a three-meet homestand and return to EAGL competition next weekend when they host North Carolina on Feb. 21.