Season comes to end with two last place finishes
The Rutgers gymnastics team concluded its season with a pair of disappointing finishes over the spring break.
The Scarlet Knights finished last for the second consecutive year at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championship held Saturday at the Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, N.C. on the campus of North Carolina State. RU posted a final total of 189.125
Danae Johnson led the Knights in both the vault and floor exercise. The freshman recorded marks of 9.750 on both with the score on the floor good enough for a 13th place finish in the event. Her finish was the highest for any Rutgers gymnast on a specific rotation.
"Practice," Johnson said of the key to her floor routines after a Feb. 7 meet against Pittsburgh and Yale. "I just believe in myself and know what I can do in the gym."
Junior Alyssa Lewandowski also impressed with a score of 9.725 on the vault earning her a 15th place finish. Senior Latara Northcutt and freshman Nicole Schwartz both competed in the all-around. Schwartz was named the team MVP the night before the EAGL Championships and she went out and finished 12th in the all-around with a score of 37.800. Northcutt placed 15th with a 37.450.
"Finally we are starting to get some quality athletes," said head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton about the improvement of her freshmen throughout the season. "When you get quality athletes you are expected to do that and they are both [Johnson and Schwartz] level-10 gymnasts and they are used to pressure situations."
N.C. State won the event with a score of 195.700 while defending champions West Virginia finished second with a mark of 195.500. North Carolina finished third followed by Pittsburgh, New Hampshire, Maryland and George Washington to round out the top seven.
Despite the poor finish four Knights, sophomore Erica Gerlach, Johnson, Northcutt and Schwartz, were all named to the all-EAGL second team.
Prior to the their trip to North Carolina, the Knights traveled to Towson, Md. for a five-team meet and came away with a fifth place finish.
The bagel at Towson was the fourth time RU came up without a win at a meet consisting of four or more teams.
Towson won that meet with a score of 193.975 while Rutgers finished with a 188.275. The Knights were also beaten by Bridgeport, William & Mary and Southern Connecticut State.
The Knights finished the season 6-22 and the 22 loses were the most under Chollet-Norton since she took over the program in 1987. But RU is still a young team and will lose only four seniors.
"They have progressed very well," Chollet-Norton said about her freshmen after a meet at Penn State. "If you talk to the upperclassmen they will all tell you how well [the freshmen are doing]. Danae and Nicole are both level-10 gymnasts so they are used to the competition, but they've also done a great job following the seniors."