July 23, 2019 | 71° F

Rutgers impresses but falls by fractions to No.21 Michigan State

Photo by Daphne Alva |

Sophomore Claire Jones sticks the landing on the balance beam in this past Saturday’s quad meet at the Livingston Gym.

Frustrating is the best word to describe the quad meet hosted by the Rutgers gymnastics team on Saturday at the Livingston Gym. The Scarlet Knights earned second place, posting 194.350 and fell short of beating No. 21 Michigan State by six-tenths of a point. 

The Spartans (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) put up a lofty score of 194.475, earning the program’s 500th victory.

Rutgers (5-5, 0-4 Big Ten) picked up two victories, defeating Brown (192.875) and Wisconsin-Oshkosh (188.325). 

In the last rotation, The Knights had three gymnasts score 9.700 or higher on the floor exercise.

While Claire Jones posted the highest score for her team in the event with a 9.825, the sophomore expected more out of herself.

“9.825 is good,” Jones said. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy but I know I can do better than that. It’s not where I want it. I want to be a consistent 9.9.”

Senior captain Emma Hoffman, sophomore April Baker and freshman Jenna Crisalli all excelled in the floor event as well. They all scored a 9.775.

Rutgers began the meet on the vault and posted a team score of 48.750. Senior captain Luisa Leal led the Knights in the rotation, scoring a 9.850. 

“[Leal] had a great meet,” said head coach Louis Levine. “I thought she did a good vault. One judge thought she did a really, really good vault. I thought she did a really good job.”

First-year Elizabeth Groden, junior Jenna Williams and senior Sara Skammer all posted scores of 9.700 or higher on the vault. Rutgers got out to an early lead, claiming first place after the first rotation.

The Knights competed on bars during the second rotation — and it was then when they slipped up. 

Baker had a few errors in her routine and scored an 8.875. Hoffman also made a mistake, despite posting a solid score of 9.175.

“I know that I can do better,” Hoffman said of her performance. “I fell on my dismount, so hopefully I’ll just go back in the gym and work harder so next week it won’t happen.”

But the event wasn’t a total miss. 

Williams posted a score of 9.825, Skammer had a 9.750 and sophomore Charly Santagado scored a 9.675. But the Knights fell to third in the standings at the conclusion of the rough rotation.

Jones broke into the beam lineup and created a spark for her team in the third rotation. The South Carolina native posted a 9.850 and led Rutgers to a team score of 48.800. Junior Claudia Salinas placed first in the event, scoring 9.875. 

Leal posted a 9.775 and Williams followed up with a 9.700. Although the Knights put up high scores in the final two rotations, they fell just short of earning their first Big Ten Conference victory.

“In the Big Ten, you’ve got to hit four for four [events] if you want to win,” Levine said. “Every single week you’re up against a top team in the country. Unfortunately, we put together three pretty good events and one not-so-good event. There you go — we lose by sixth-tenths. Last week was the same result.”

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

Evan Bruno

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