UNH’s Carr lands league honors
It has been a frustrating, yet at times rewarding, senior season for University of New Hampshire gymnast Ali Carr.
A former two-time Merrimack Valley Conference Gymnast of the Year at Chelmsford High, Carr has been unable to compete in floor exercise because of nagging knee and ankle injuries. And therein lies the frustration: Minus the floor, she has not been able to compete in the all-around, something she has done “like forever.’’
And the reward? Concentrating on the vault, uneven bars, and beam, she earned All-East Gymnastics League honors in each discipline, propelling the Wildcats to the NCAA Division 1 Regional meet for 30th time in the last 31 seasons. UNH was in Fayetteville, Ark., for the competition on Saturday, the fifth seed in a six-team field, joining UCLA, Arkansas, Boise State, Missouri, and Maryland. The two top squads advance to the national championship later this month in Duluth, Ga.
“I’m going into this meet with the intention of doing the best I can in every routine and enjoying myself,’’ said the 22-year-old Carr, who delivered season-high averages of 9.821 in the vault, 9.679 on the uneven bars, and 9.648 on the beam.
“That’s what the team is thinking, too, just to do the best in each routine. I don’t want to put too many expectations on myself, knowing this could be the last meet of my college career.’’
If it is, coach Gail Goodspeed will bid adieu to someone who, she says, “has the ability to make the really difficult look easy. She is truly an artistic gymnast with both power and style to be the entire package.’’
The 5-foot-6 Carr skipped the floor exercise because of its impact on her knees and ankles. That allowed her to focus on the other three events. She delivered a career-best performance on Jan. 21 against Pittsburgh, winning the vault with a personal-best 9.785, won the beam, and tied for first on the bars. On Feb. 25 against West Virginia, she registered a personal-best 9.9 in earning top honors in the beam.
Carr said this season was the best of her career.
She recalled two other meets that were “the highlights of my career.’’
The first came when she was a freshman, when the Wildcats registered 196.2 points against the University of North Carolina. The other was her sophomore year in a meet against Brown, when she posted a 9.95 on the unevens.
University of Massachusetts Lowell senior infielder Cam Kneeland of Rowley had a monster performance in a doubleheader against Franklin Pierce. Overall, he was 6 for 10 with 5 RBIs and two runs scored. Two of his six hits were doubles. . . . UNH senior Sydney Fitzpatrick of Billerica and junior teammate Keeley Maguire of Georgetown finished first and third for the Wildcats in the 10,000 meters at the recent N.C. State Raleigh Relays. Fitzpatrick topped the 48-person field with an ECAC-qualifying time of 34 minutes 50.34 seconds. Maguire’s 35:18.11 also met the ECAC-qualifying standard. . . . The Merrimack men’s lacrosse team, ranked fourth in Division 2, passed its biggest test of the year when it beat No. 5 Aldephi, 12-8, in a crucial Northeast-10 Conference match. Junior Greg Melaugh of Billerica had two goals and three assists in the win, which boosted Merrimack to 6-0, its best start since the 2009 season when it won its first nine matches. The win propelled Merrimack to a best-in-school-history No. 3 rank. . . . The New England Women’s Lacrosse Alliance has named Salem State junior Bridget Dullea of Peabody its Player of the Week, and Massachusetts Maritime Academy freshman Hillary Doucette of Manchester its Rookie of the Week. Dullea had 16 goals, 16 ground balls and won 20 draws in three Salem State wins. Nine of her goals came in a 21-20 win over Worcester. Doucette, meanwhile, scored eight goals to lead the Buccaneers to their first win in school history. She also added an assist in the 18-16 win. . . . UMass Dartmouth sophomore Nick Thayer of Chelmsford is the Little East Conference lacrosse Goalkeeper of the Week after making a dozen saves and collecting three ground balls in a 9-1 win over Western Connecticut State.
John Vellante can be reached at JohnPVel@aol.com.