Rutgers falls in road dual-meet to No. 19 Ohio State
The Rutgers gymnastics team went into its dual meet against Ohio State filled with confidence and rightly so. The team was coming off its second Big Ten win in three years against Michigan State and its scores were beginning to improve week by week.
Unfortunately, the Scarlet Knights (8-5, 1-3) couldn’t dig out of an early hole Saturday evening and fell to No. 19 Ohio State (5-2, 2-2) in a head-to-head matchup. But head coach Louis Levine was proud of how his team performed from start to finish.
“We started off a little tight today on bars,” Levine said. “But I thought our confidence grew as the meet went on.”
The tightness early on could have been explained by the almost eight hour-long bus ride to Columbus, Ohio the girls had to endure. Whatever it was, it didn’t last long as Rutgers improved its score on each rotation after that, finishing with a total score of 194.300.
The consistency the Knights displayed on Saturday mirrors what they have been preaching all week during practices.
“We had some mistakes, but I think it was a consistent score that reflects what we have been doing this week,” said junior Libby Groden
Consistency is important in any sport, but especially so in a team sport like gymnastics. If every girl hits with a consistent routine, the final score will inevitably be higher.
“When you compare (this meet) to the past few meets we have had, I think it was pretty consistent among them,” Groden said.
With three consecutive meets with scores of 194.200 or higher, you could definitely say that Rutgers has become consistent.
Groden, who tallied an all-around score of 38.250, was one of two Knights who participated in all four events on the night. The other, for only the second time this season, was sophomore Michelle Amoresano who scored a 38.800, good for second on the night.
“I think getting in there and completing my new double Arabian on floor was really exciting,” Amoresano said when asked about what stood out to her the most about her performance. “I think that really built a lot of momentum for the rest of the lineup.”
Groden, sophomore Jenna Rizkalla and senior Claire Jones all achieved a score of 9.800, while freshman Chloe DeVries received a 9.725. Amoresano’s coach was also impressed by her accomplishment.
“Floor was great and definitely our best event today,” Levine said. “Michelle had a great meet in the all-around and did a new first pass on floor, which was excellent.”
Slow starts can haunt teams late in the season, and Amoresano knows that both her as an individual and the Knights as a team will have to be more consistent as the team prepares for the Big Ten Championships, which Rutgers will host in March.
“In the gym I have just been working on focusing on consistency and just going into every meet without leaving anything behind,” Amoresano said.
In the end, the Knights scored a 48.325 on bars, a 48.450 on vault, a 48.600 on beam and a 48.925 on floor, totaling a final score of 194.300.
Coach Levine was glad his team bounced back from the slow start, showing toughness and heart.
“We showed a lot of fight and that is something that is going to help us (moving forward) this season,” Levine said.
For updates on the Rutgers gymnastics team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.