May 24, 2019 | 60° F

Gymnastics: Individuals shine in Regionals

Despite falling just shy of qualifying for the NCAA Regionals, the Rutgers gymnastics team sent four individuals to the postseason Saturday at West Virginia – its most qualifiers since 2004.

Junior Luisa Leal — named EAGL Team MVP on March 22 — earned a 39.175 all-around competition score to highlight the Scarlet Knights action.

The Cali, Colombia, native finished tied for sixth among 17 gymnasts — only 0.025 points short of second place and qualification for the NCAA Championships.

She also finished fourth among 42 competitors on the uneven bars where she earned her highest individual event score of 9.850. It was Leal’s second time competing at regionals — her first since competing in 2011 as a freshman.

Junior co-captain Alexis Gunzelman also competed all-around for the second time in her career, tallying a 38.400.

Her top two scores came on the uneven bars and vault with marks of 9.825 and 9.775, respectively. The Tabernacle, N.J., native earned this season EAGL First-Team All-Uneven Bars honors.

Rutgers’ other two qualifiers were rookies who this year provided the Knights with depth.

Freshman Jenna Williams, also an EAGL First Team All-Uneven Bars selection, flourished again in the event on the regional stage with a 9.750.

Classmate Claudia Salinas, an EAGL First Team All-Balance Beam selection, proved a solid specialist in her event as well with a 9.125.

Head coach Louis Levine said he is proud of how the individuals — all expected to return next season — proved themselves against national forces.

The top goal entering next season remains qualifying for the event as a team for the first time since 2007.

By Greg Johnson

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