April 25, 2019 | 56° F

Rutgers falls shorts against No.6 Nebraska

Photo by Edwin Gano |

Sophomore Claire Jones prepares to dismount during her beam routine over the weekend where Rutgers fell to No.6 Nebraska.

The Rutgers gymnastics team had a near victory over another top-10 gymnastics program on Saturday, but let the chance slip through its fingers. 

The Scarlet Knights (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) posted a 195.375 overall score to place second — just behind No. 6 Nebraska.

Rutgers was less than one point away from beating the Cornhuskers and securing their first Big Ten Conference win in front of a sold out crowd at the Livingston Gym. First place Nebraska posted a 196.250 score with the Knights in second place followed by Southern Connecticut and Brockport.

Rutgers went toe-to-toe with the Cornhuskers for the entire matchup, outscoring them on the beam and the floor. The Huskers beat the Knights by less than one point in the other two events, the vault and the bars.

“You want to beat teams that are ranked in the top-10 in the country,” said head coach Louis Levine. “You’ve got to get up there and you’ve got to hit every routine. But this is a huge improvement and a big step to where we want to be.”

The Knights began the quad meet on the vault and all six gymnasts posted a 9.700 or higher. Senior captain Luisa Leal and sophomore April Baker posted 9.800 and 9.850, respectively, in the event and helped tie the record for the fourth-best team score in program history at 48.975.

Rutgers followed up with a strong performance on the bars, posting a 49.100. Senior captain Emma Hoffman turned in an astounding 9.900, a career-high mark.

“I almost cried on bars before my bar routine because of how great we were doing,” Hoffman said. “Getting my career-high on bars actually was just icing on the cake for the first home meet.”

Senior Anastasia Halbig led the Knights on the beam with a 9.875, tying a career-best. Freshman Libby Grodan posted an impressive 9.800 in her collegiate debut.

The Knights went onto the floor, with a sold out crowd buzzing behind them, hoping to capture their first Big Ten victory. Rutgers posted an overall score of 48.875. Sophomore April Baker had an impressive competition, including a 9.875 on the floor.

While Hoffman posted a 9.800 to set another personal-best, it was sophomore Claire Jones who stole the show. 

The fans gave Jones a thunderous applause in her season debut after posting a 9.800 on the floor.

“For me it was just confidence,” said Jones on her performance. “My coaches told me all week, Claire you can do it. … I was really nervous and I’m not really a nervous competitor but, when I stepped foot on this floor I was like, my teams got me if I don’t have myself and that really helped.”

For updates on the Rutgers gymnastics team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter      

Evan Bruno

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