July 15, 2019 | 73° F

RU?works to bounce back at UPenn

Photo by The Daily Targum |

Sophomore Luisa Leal was part of the Scarlet Knights’ trio of gymnasts that placed in the top-three spots on the uneven bars in Rutgers’ first two meets. The Colombia native leads the Knights tomorrow against UPenn.

Even with their 0-2 start to the season, the Rutgers gymnastics team’s positive attitude did not waver. First-year head coach Louis Levine preaches a motto of improvement week in and week out.

When the Scarlet Knights travel to Pennsylvania tomorrow, they look to keep their steady improvement alive.

“We put on a lot more of a clean performance [last weekend] at West Virginia than we did in our opener [against New Hampshire],” Levine said. “That is our main goal, to improve and take positive steps forward from week-to-week and meet-to-meet as the season progresses.”

The Knights head to Pennsylvania with their confidence in the beam event higher than ever. Despite a slow start against the Mountaineers last weekend, the Knights eventually landed all six of their routines on the beam.

The team feels execution is the most important thing to carry with it on the road tomorrow in Philadelphia.

“We definitely need to bring the attitude on beam we had against West Virginia to this meet at Penn,” said sophomore Luisa Leal. “We need to do the same exact thing and be the same exact way.”

Leal and her teammates also hope to continue their dominance on the uneven bars. For two straight meets Leal, junior Danielle D’Elia, and sophomore Alexis Gunzelman took the top three spots on the podium in the event. The Knights know if they can bring up the rest of their scores on the bars, the event could become one of their strongest.

“It’s the same with bars, we need to bring that same performance to Penn,” Leal said. “We had a couple falls, but the people that hit did a great job.”

In the floor events, the Knights feel they are not living up to their potential.

Fixing the inconsistencies that plagued them in on the floor this year is the key to coming away with their first victory of the year, Leal said.

“We definitely need to do a better job on floor because that is our strongest event, and we had a weak day [at West Virginia],” she said. “We know what we need to do to get better, and we are going to do it.”

Pennsylvania enters the meet tomorrow without much competitive experience this year. The Quakers have only one meet under their belt so far, placing third in the Lindsey Ferris Invitational with an overall score of 189.025. Of the 10 gymnasts who competed for the Quakers at the Invitational, five of them were freshmen making their collegiate debuts.

But Levine is sure the first victory for the Knights on Friday depends not on what Pennsylvania brings to the table, but rather his team’s ability to perform up to its full potential.

“After our first two meets we definitely need to keep working on our consistency and our execution,” he said. “When you enter into a sport that’s judged, we have to make it so there is no doubt in anyone’s mind as to how great we are.”

By Vinnie Mancuso

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