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When the Rutgers gymnastics team recruited Luisa Leal-Restrepo,
expectations were sky-high. She was a veteran of the Colombian
national team and training for the Olympics. While inflated
expectations are a hallmark of recruiting in collegiate athletics,
in the case of Leal-Restrepo, the hype was true.
Head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton sent three Knights to
NCAA'Regionals and reflected upon her final season with Rutgers,
which featured successful senior day and alumni day meets.
The Rutgers gymnastics team had a record-breaking season in 2011
after slowly building toward national prominence for the last
Luisa Leal-Restrepo followed up her East Atlantic Gymnastics
League Freshman of the Year regular season with a 38.000 showing in
the all-around competition at NCAA'Regionals.
While the Rutgers gymnastics team's season is over, three
gymnasts continued to compete this weekend. The NCAA Regionals were
held in six regions across the country last Saturday to decide who
would qualify for Nationals in Cleveland.
Freshman Luisa Leal-Restrepo is one of three Knights ' all
underclassmen ' to earn an invitation to NCAA'regionals and has
experience in big meets.
Sophomore Jenna Zito completed the regular season with an
all-around average of 38.228 and was one of two Knights to complete
all season in all-around for head coach Chrystal
The Rutgers gymnastics team had its sights set on going to NCAA
regionals all season, and even though the Scarlet Knights came up
short, they put together a memorable season and broke multiple
records along the way.
Sophomore Danielle D'Elia qualified for the NCAA'Regionals in
her first season at Rutgers after transferring from Central
Michigan. D'Elia's 9.796 average qualified her for the floor
While the schedule for the Rutgers gymnastics team concluded
with a school-record finish at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League
Championships, three gymnasts continued their seasons.
Freshman Luisa Leal-Restrepo, Above, and sophomore Jenna Zito
are two of three Scarlet Knights who extended their season by
qualifying for the NCAA'Regionals. Both will participate in the
all-around competition after averaging a score of 38.68 and 38.228
this season, respectively.
Following a regular season that saw the Rutgers gymnastics team
break several school records, including the season wins total, the
Scarlet Knights decided to add one more record to the list.
With the postseason approaching, the Rutgers gymnastics team has
one last opportunity to boost its season average. The Scarlet
Knights travel to Maryland tomorrow to compete in a tri-meet
against Towson and Yale in their season finale.
Head coach'Chrystal Chollet-Norton capped off the final home
meet of her career on Saturday, when the Knights posted a
season-high score of 194.350.
The question heading into every gymnastics meet over the past
month was not whether the Rutgers gymnastics team would win, but
what records it would break in the process. The Scarlet Knights'
Senior Day meet Saturday was no exception.
Freshman standout Luisa Leal-Restrepo was named EAGL Gymnast of
the Week after her school record 39.375 all-around performance in
the Knights' last meet. The honor marked the second time this
season Leal-Restrepo earned the award.
The Rutgers gymnastics team will compete not only against four
other teams on Saturday, but also its emotions. The Scarlet Knights
host Cornell, Southern Connecticut State, West Chester and Yale in
their final home meet of the season and for members of the senior
class, the final home meet of their careers.
Senior Kiah Banfield ranks fourth on the Knights with an average
score of 9.736 in the floor exercise, twice reaching a high of
Senior Leigh Heinbaugh recorded a season-high 9.575 on the beam
in the Scarlet Knights' most recent meet. She also participated in
the vault once, and will be one of eight seniors honored Saturday
before their final home meet.