July 16, 2019 | 67° F

Rutgers earns second place finish in quad meet at Towson

Photo by Edwin Gano |

After Luisa LEal's performance over the weekend, head coach Louis Levine said he was impressed with the senior captain's versatility in the events.

As the Rutgers gymnastics team wrapped up its quad meet Friday evening at Towson, the results were mixed.

While the Scarlet Knights finished ahead of Towson (193.750) and Yale (191.875) with a score of 194.850, they ended up in second place behind Michigan State's top score of 196.275.

Head coach Louis Levine said he felt Rutgers (10-13, 0-8) can still take its game up a notch.

“I think we can still do better,” Louis Levine said. “We still haven’t put together four great events. ... We should be a high 48, 49 on every single event. We’ve done that on three of four events but we haven’t quite put it all together to put up that high 195 or 196 that we’re looking for.”

The Spartans recorded a season-high 49.200 on bars and Burt was awarded first place in the event with a 9.875 total.

Kicking off the competition on the balance beam, the Knights posted a 48.050. Sophomore Claire Jones scored a 9.775, the highest total of the rotation. Along with Jones, senior Anastasia Halbig (9.735) and junior Claudia Salinas (9.700) all went over the 9.700 mark. 

“It was definitely a better performance than NC State,” Levine said. “It’s still not quite where we want to be … It’s been a different event each week. That jump between five tenths and a point — the difference in our score is a huge difference and really could make us competitive or not make us competitive as we kind of wind down the season here.”

In the second rotation, Rutgers put together another strong performance on the floor with a 48.900 team mark. A pair of senior captains led the way, as Emma Hoffman notched a 9.825 and Luisa Leal made her season debut on the floor with a 9.800.

“Luisa (Leal) has this determination and I would say she’s talented,” Levine said on Leal’s performance. “We kind of changed around the plan with her floor, and we were able to kind of quickly put into action a routine that will score well. I don’t think this weekend was her best performance but man, it was good to see her out there. There’ll be some great performances ahead with her.”

Jones also impressed on the floor with a 9.800. Freshmen Jenna Crisalli and Sahara Gipson both put up scores of 9.725 while Elizabeth Groden (9.200) had a solid event as well.

The Knights posted a season-high 48.975 on vault in the third rotation. Leal landed a season-best 9.900 mark and sophomore April Baker (9.875) recorded a new season-high as well. 

Senior Sara Skammer and Groden each contributed 9.725’s, followed by Gipson's 9.750.

“We really competed the way we practiced on a pretty consistent basis,” Levine said. “For the most part all year … April (Baker) was back in the lineup this week after being out for a couple weeks. …It’s people pushing each other to get better and better.”

Securing a sound 48.925 total on the uneven bars, Williams and Baker each composed a 9.825 mark for Rutgers. 

Levine was impressed by Baker’s performance in the competition in particular. The Andover, Massachusetts, native earned a season high on vault and contributed totals over 9.800 on both vault and bars.

“I think April [Baker] had a really good performance this week,” said Levine. “I thought she did a great bar routine and a great vault. I don’t know if they’re her personal bests, but they’re really close if they’re not. …We had three standout events and two particularly in vault and bars that I was really proud of the way we competed.”

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

Evan Bruno

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