Rutgers hosts quad meet after second-place showing
The Rutgers gymnastics team will try to keep its recent momentum going as it hosts Michigan State, Cornell and Ursinus this Saturday at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).
The Scarlet Knights (5-4, 0-2) are coming off an impressive showing from last week when they placed second behind only No. 10 Nebraska in a quad meet at the Livingston Recreation Center. The season-high score came as no surprise to anybody on the squad.
“I think last week and prior weeks, practices have been super consistent and we have had a ton of energy and it kind of left no doubts,” said senior April Baker. “We knew coming into last weekend that we were going to hit, and just that extra confidence, I think, brought us to 194.”
Rutgers should have no problem maintaining that confidence and high energy level when it steps foot in the RAC for the first time this season, but make no mistake, the Knights are not beginning to settle.
"I think we’re really trying to stay grounded and not get too ahead of ourselves,” the Baker, a native of Andover, Massachusetts, said. “We’ve kind of reminded each other that this is just the beginning, we need to go even further.”
Head coach Louis Levine, the players and the fans will also have something else to look forward to, as Saturday’s meet is “Coach Lou’s Luau,” with the first 500 attendees receiving flower clips and leis. Levine believes the extra confidence and energy has definitely helped his team.
“The team as a whole has really had some really positive changes and a positive attitude over the last few weeks,” Levine said. “We started in one place and right now the goal is just to get better day in and day out and week to week in competitions and see how far we can take it as a group.”
Michigan State (1-2, 0-2) is coming off of two losses in two weeks after losing to Iowa and Minnesota in head-to-head matchups and beating the University of Chicago at Illinois in its home opener. This will be the Spartans' first quad meet of the season.
“Michigan State obviously has beaten us in the past, but if I just go off the scores from last week, their score was a little bit below ours, so I think it can be a real good competition,” Levine said. “We just have to worry about what we do. It doesn’t really matter what team is on the other side or anything like that, we have to go out and perform our best.”
Baker knows exactly what her head coach is talking about, but also believes in another measure of success.
“We had so much fun and I think that’s a huge part of success — just really enjoying what you’re doing out there,” Baker said. “But we’re all really determined to grow from last week and not to become complacent with how we did.”
Levine continues to have high hopes for his team and is excited about the future.
“I think this is a team that’s really talented and I couldn’t even tell you how high the limits are," Levine said.
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