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Often described by head coach Louis Levine as one of the best gymnasts in the country, junior Luisa Leal has lived up to that billing in her first healthy season since her freshman year. Her all-around performance is a key factor in the No. 18 Rutgers gymnastics team’s third 5-0 start in program history and first since 1994. Leal currently holds the second highest all-around average in the Northeast region and 20th best in the country, with a 39.200 in Monday’s most recent rankings.
Junior Luisa Leal has recovered from a heart disease, broken foot and sprained neck to help lead Rutgers.
Last season, the Rutgers gymnastics team did not score more than a 195 until its fifth time out. The Scarlet Knights eclipsed it three times in their first three meets this season, leading to a 5-0 record. The team traveled to Columbus, Ohio for a dual meet Sunday with No. 19 Ohio State. No. 16 Rutgers topped its previous two scores with 195.275 en route to its first-ever victory against a Big Ten opponent.
Junior Luisa Leal won the all-around competition Sunday at No. 16 Ohio State with an all-around score of 39.250.
With about a month left until the team’s opener Jan. 18 against New Hampshire, the Rutgers gymnastics team has higher hopes than ever. The Scarlet Knights achieved four of the top-six scores in program history last season. The Knights earned a 195.00 score during a quad meet Feb. 2 with Brown, Pittsburgh and Southern Connecticut — their first time eclipsing the 195 mark in 13 years.
Senior Alexis Gunzelman returns after two years participating in the all-around for Rutgers. After earning EAGL First-Team All-Uneven Bars last year, Gunzelman hopes the rest of the team makes it to the NCAA Regionals. All four who made them last year return for the Knights.
Despite falling just shy of qualifying for the NCAA Regionals, the Rutgers gymnastics team sent four individuals to the postseason Saturday at West Virginia – its most qualifiers since 2004. Junior Luisa Leal — named EAGL Team MVP on March 22 — earned a 39.175 all-around competition score to highlight the Scarlet Knights action. The Cali, Colombia, native finished tied for sixth among 17 gymnasts — only 0.025 points short of second place and qualification for the NCAA Championships.
Luisa Leal called together her demoralized teammates Saturday in Chapel Hill, N.C., after the Rutgers gymnastics team failed to qualify for the NCAA Regionals. The team was frustrated with being foiled at the threshold of the top 36 nationally, but the junior implored the Scarlet Knights to not lose sight of the big picture. Despite failing to finish strong at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships, Rutgers raised the standard of its program this season with historic accomplishments.
Slowly but surely, Louis Levine consoled his gymnasts. As members of the Rutgers gymnastics team trudged off the floor of the Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Saturday, the head coach urged his team to keep perspective. The Scarlet Knights finished seventh among eight teams at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships with a score of 193.925 — a mark Rutgers knew would not land it a spot in the top 36 for the NCAA Regionals.
Junior co-captain Alexis Gunzelman earned a 9.825 on bars to lead the Knights at the EAGL Championships.
Head coach Louis Levine said his team remains proud despite missing NCAAs.
An air of focused tension and supreme confidence consumes the Livingston Recreation Center these days. At the site of the Rutgers gymnastics team’s weekday morning practices, it is hard to find a Scarlet Knight dead set on anything other than earning the program its first trip to the NCAA Regionals since 2007. It is an unspoken mindset in which the Knights stay within themselves, not wanting to press.
Junior co-captain Alexis Gunzelman leads in Rutgers’ quest for an NCAA Regionals berth and will likely perform tomorrow in the all-around event.
Luisa Leal spent more than a year fighting her way back to the all-around competition after being sidelined Jan. 20, 2012 with a chronic heart problem. The junior for the Rutgers gymnastics team returned to competition in all four events Feb. 17, and Friday night she cemented her name among the best in program history in the event. Leal set a school-record all-around score of 39.500 as the Scarlet Knights toppled Towson, 195.550-194.600, at the Towson Center in Maryland.
For all of its history-making accomplishments at the Livingston Recreation Center, the Rutgers gymnastics team understands none of that means anything right now. The Scarlet Knights’ days of competition at home for this season are over, and they must travel again for two more meets to push for a berth in the NCAA Regionals. That starts when Rutgers will compete in a dual meet tomorrow night with former conference foe Towson.
If one thing has been constant in the Rutgers gymnastics team’s season, it is that the Scarlet Knights have persistently shown they can keep the big picture in perspective. Through the highs and lows of a relatively inconsistent season, the Knights have stayed the course and never wavered from their end goal of making the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2007.
That much was reaffirmed after Saturday’s historic outing — when head coach Louis Levine made it very clear that his team’s business is far from finished.
Head coach Louis?Levine urges No. 39 Rutgers to stay focused as they shoot for the top 36 to qualify for the NCAA?Regionals.
A sea of emotional gymnasts and coaches embraced senior Danielle D’Elia after she nailed a floor exercise routine Saturday at the Livingston Recreation Center for the final time. The Rutgers gymnastics team set a school-record score of 195.975 on Senior Day, sweeping its quad meet against Cornell, William & Mary and Brockport. For D’Elia, all the work the Scarlet Knights put in this year finally paid off. “It’s amazing. It feels so good to finally get exactly where we’ve been wanting to go,” D’Elia said.
Coming off a three-week road trip with stops in Ohio, Maryland and Colorado, the Rutgers gymnastics team performs at home tomorrow for the final time this season. Seniors Danielle D’Elia, Nicole Romano, Emma-Rose Trentacosti and Jenna Zito will bid farewell to days of competition inside the Livingston Recreation Center. The Scarlet Knights are eager for a proper sendoff, and history says it is likely. Rutgers is 7-1 at home this season, where it boasts nearly a 194 score average.