Rutgers faces first "double-weekend" with trips to Missouri, Michigan
After a strange couple of weeks that had a Sunday meet quickly followed by a Friday meet, the Rutgers gymnastics team will have to deal with some scheduling oddities once again this weekend.
The Scarlet Knights (10-8, 1-4) will begin their weekend by heading to Cape Girardeau, Missouri to take on Southeast Missouri and Texas Woman’s University in a three-way meet on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Rutgers will end its weekend, however, with a trip to Mount Pleasant, Michigan for a head-to-head matchup against Central Michigan on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Knights will have two competitions this weekend, for their first “double weekend” of the season. Head coach Lou Levine is hoping two meets for the price of one will help his team break through after treading water for much of the season and struggling to reach that next level.
“We just haven’t been able to quite put together that complete performance,” Levine said. “We got two opportunities this weekend to kind of make a run for a start to finish complete performance, or at least improve our odds of making the postseason.”
Gymnastics is as much a team sport as any other, and it shows in the final score if the entire team isn’t firing on all cylinders.
Freshman Kaitlyn Hall, a Missouri native, is seeing more and more time at competitions and is beginning to learn the ins and outs of college gymnastics.
“It’s so fun to be out there with the team,” she said. “Competing in college is a lot different than what I have done before. It’s really more about the team instead of individuals and it's just a lot of fun.”
Despite their recent overall performances, coach Levine has seen improvement in all of his athletes since the beginning of the season.
“I think we have improved everywhere,” he said. “I think every individual has improved, the biggest thing is that we got to put it all together at that moment in time. Last week we put up a ton of really good scores, a couple of 9.9s and tons of 9.8 plus scores which is what you are really looking for.”
With high expectations and this double weekend coming up — and a lot of gymnastics ahead — the Knights will have to push themselves while simultaneously making sure they don’t overexert themselves.
Freshman Chloe DeVries knows the preparation will be a little different this weekend, but is committed to having fun no matter what.
“We just have to really think about rest and taking care of our bodies because it is such a long weekend,” she said. “With this being my first double weekend, I'm really excited and kind of nervous, but it should be fun.”
Fun should be no problem for Hall this weekend. The Missouri native is going home as Rutgers heads out west for its first leg of the weekend. She may even be able to offer some key insight on the competition.
“Yeah, I’m excited to go back to my home state,” she said. “My brother and dad are going to be there, so it will be exciting to be back and I think I know a few girls competing against us, so it'll be fun and exciting.”
The Knights, who have five freshmen on the team – including Hall and DeVries – know the importance they bring to the team. They will need contributions from all of them down the stretch of the season.
“I said at the beginning of the season that they are going to play a major role and they have,” coach Levine said. “They have continued to get better and better and become more and more apart of lineups. They are going to continue to play a pivotal role this year in our next four competitions and hopefully we can put it all together as a group and they can be a major factor into all of that.”