Season-high score encourages Knights
The Rutgers gymnastics team finished second to host Cornell on Saturday despite a season-high score of 190.950. Unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, Cornell delivered score of 192.675 — a season-best as well. RU defeated Brockport who finished third with a score of 188.250.
Despite finishing second to Cornell, head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton is pleased that her team is getting better as the season goes on.
"It's great. We were really happy with the girls," Chollet-Norton said. "We had a few falls but we didn't need to count them."
The fact that Cornell is the defending champion of the USA Nationals makes her team's ability to rise to the occasion and deliver their best meet of the season all the more impressive for Chollet-Norton.
"Cornell is the reigning USA National Champion. They want to defend their title," Chollet-Norton said. "We are on the upswing and even though they are a great club, we are showing what we can do this year."
After struggling on beam at its last home quad meet, Chollet-Norton went to extra lengths to make sure her team was prepared. The Knights showed substantial improvement, led by a 9.750 from senior Laura Sevarino and a 9.700 from junior Leigh Heinbaugh. Overall, RU had four athletes finish in the top-five in beam.
"I am so proud of them," Chollet-Norton said. "Cornell's gym is small, so their beam is right next to the wall. I put a mat up right next to our beam to see how close it would be to the wall."
On vault, Sevarino continued her impressive meet, tying for third overall with fellow senior Alyssa Lewandowski with scores of 9.675. Senior Kiah Banfield also performed well with a score of 9.550.
Banfield extended her stretch of phenomenal performances on floor exercises. After achieving a 9.900 last Saturday night, she scored a 9.850 to place second overall in the event. Lewandowski was able to finish sixth overall with a 9.675.
"I think Kiah's tumbling is getting better and her dance is great," Chollet-Norton said. "I was so impressed to see her get a 9.850 on the road,"
Jenna Zito, Nicole Romano and Emma-Rose Trentacosti continued to be some of the strongest performers on the team. Zito paced the team on bars with a 9.425 and finished fifth in the all-around competition with a score of 37.100. Romano posted an all-around score of 37.850 to finish third. Trentacosti celebrated her birthday in style, tying for fourth overall in beam with a 9.625.
"You wouldn't have even known it was her [Trentacosti's] birthday," Chollet-Norton said. "She knew she had a job to do and she did a great job."
The Knights return to action on Saturday against Towson and Yale in their last home meet.