RU places in top two twice in busy slate
After a three-day span in which the Rutgers gymnastics team competed in two tri-meets, the Scarlet Knights came away with a first and second place finish and two scores above 190.
The Knights traveled to New Haven, Conn., on Sunday to face Yale and Ithaca. Despite competing only two days earlier, the team took first against the two squads.
But Rutgers' score of 190.575 was only five points higher than second place Yale.
The star of the meet was freshman Luisa Leal-Restrepo, who finished first in vault, floor exercises and bars. Her 38.775 score was good for first in all-around competition, followed by fellow freshman Alyssa Straub, who finished second with a 37.975.
Rutgers once again relied on its floor exercise team to provide consistent scores. Leal-Restrepo, Straub, freshman Alexis Gunzelman, senior Kiah Banfield and sophomore Danielle D'Elia all posted scores over 9.700 en route to taking the top-five spots overall in the event.
Prior to competing in Connecticut, the Knights hosted a tri-meet at the Louis Brown Athletic Center Friday in which Rutgers took second place.
Despite starting the meet strong in vault and bars, the Knights struggled on beam, falling several times.
While the team rebounded on the floor, it was not enough to topple eventual winner Bridgeport.
Rutgers earned a score of 191.225 — just behind Bridgeport's 191.975 — and could have won the meet with a passable performance on beam.
"We should have won that meet and not just by a little, [but] by a few points." Banfield said. "It's frustrating, but I know that everyone worked hard and tried their best. It really doesn't make much sense. We are all hitting in practice and warm-ups and then we all just fall apart in competition."
Head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton was disappointed with the performance on beam, but also acknowledged that the other three events were successful.
"We really just had three good events and then beam," Chollet-Norton said. "We showed what we could do in three events, so I'm happy about that. We just need to figure out how to do all four events well at the same time."
Chollet-Norton continues to trumpet her team's improved depth as the mechanism for improvement on beam. With so many capable athletes, Chollet-Norton is able to rotate athletes into the event without any drop-off in talent.
"As a coaching staff, it is up to us to find out what to do on beam," Chollet-Norton said. "It's really open to anyone. We have so many kids waiting in the background to step up."