Competition relaxes in home quad-meet
After a stretch of three meets in seven days and a trip to Pittsburgh that became an odyssey due to snow, the Rutgers gymnastics team finally has a chance to recharge its batteries and prepare for tomorrow's home quad-meet.
Tomorrow marks the third straight quad-meet for the Scarlet Knights. However, the level of competition is not at the level of their previous meets. RU faces Cortland, Brockport and Ursinus, three schools that the Knights are expected to beat, and one team they already beat.
Last time out at Pittsburgh, the Knights finished with a 189, a score that is on par with the team's performances this year and a score that boosted RU over Brockport in the quad-meet.
However, head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton felt somewhat disappointed because she knew her team could do better.
"We scored a 189 and we are disappointed because we have such high standards now," Chollet-Norton said. "We had four points of mistakes so I think we can be a 192-193 team."
Other than Brockport, which regularly scores in the mid-to high 180's, no team in the field should be able to compete with the Knights, even if they replicate their score from Pittsburgh, Chollet-Norton said.
"This is going to be a slightly easier meet," Chollet-Norton said. "Brockport is pretty tough though."
While the team is not looking past this meet, Chollet-Norton is maintaining a focus on getting her team to nationals. After sending five athletes to nationals last year, Chollet-Norton said that her team now possesses an understanding of the high level of performance required.
"We sent five girls to nationals last year and they know what it takes now," Chollet-Norton said. "All the girls realize that we deserve to be at nationals as a team."
One of the keys to the team's aspirations for nationals is the ability for the team to stay fresh and healthy. Last season, the Knights suffered from several injuries and lacked the depth to make up for it. This year, a new focus on keeping athletes healthy and an influx of young talent allowed the team to thrive.
"We have preached staying healthy all year because we are trying to peak at the right time," Chollet-Norton said. "We also have great depth now so we can rotate girls to keep them fresh."
As of right now, the Knights are healthy and improving as the season goes on. If this trend continues, Chollet-Norton said that her team should have every opportunity to go to nationals.
"We are on pace right now," Chollet-Norton said. "Hopefully we can keep it up."