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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.
Senior Danielle D’Elia will compete in the final home meet of her collegiate career this weekend. Rutgers averages nearly 194 this season at the Livingston Recreation Center.
When Danielle D’Elia tries to reflect on her Rutgers gymnastics career, all she can think about is how quickly the time has passed. The senior said her debut for the Scarlet Knights as a freshman a little more than three years ago feels like hardly a distant memory. As she cringes at the thought of her final home meet Saturday, D’Elia is most proud to have been integral in something special. Over the last few years, Rutgers has seen an improvement from years past.
Senior Danielle D’Elia will compete on the floor exercise Saturday in the Livingston Recreation?Center for the final time. She earned a career-high score of 9.900 in her last outing at home?Feb. 2 in the event. D’Elia called the performance the individual highlight of her career.
Despite witnessing his team fall short of first place on the road for the third consecutive week, Rutgers head gymnastics coach Louis Levine had almost nothing negative to say about the Scarlet Knights. Even if it does not always show up on the scoreboard, he can see his gymnasts improving. Even when Rutgers finished third Saturday at No. 13 Denver –— in its first quad competition since Feb. 2 — Levine took it as another stepping stone in a process priming the Knights for a historic postseason.
Freshman Jenna Williams scored less than 9.000 Saturday on the beam, an event in which Rutgers struggled in that meet.
With only four meets before the EAGL Championships, the Rutgers gymnastics team needs a full effort as it hopes to build on last week’s highest road score in program history. Since losing senior co-captain Jenna Zito to an injury Jan. 19, the Scarlet Knights have responded. Rutgers stumbled to a 193.213 score average in the first four meets of the season. It has averaged a score of 194.583 in the three meets since. Unexpected contributions from freshmen and the health of others have the Knights in prime position for a strong final month of the season.
Juniors Luisa Leal and Alexis Gunzelman, above, will provide Rutgers with consistency as it tries to capture a victory at No. 13 Denver.
Alexis Gunzelman said Jan. 28 much work was in order for the Rutgers gymnastics team to reach the top 36 nationally by the end of the season. The junior co-captain was right. The Scarlet Knights were coming off a third-worst season score of 193.225 at Penn State only two days earlier. Since then, the Knights have made a concerted effort to raise their intensity and mindset in practice, and the results reflect the change. In three meets since the Nittany Lions, Rutgers reached a team score of 195 twice — something no other team in program history had done once in almost 13 years.
Forget the fact the Rutgers gymnastics team placed last in its road tri-meet Sunday with No. 18 Maryland and West Virginia. For head coach Louis Levine, the Scarlet Knights eclipsing the 195 score mark for the second time this season served as vindication of what he has asserted all along. Before the season, he insisted the Knights’ depth was something unseen in recent program history, and the results justify his claim. Rutgers’ team score of 195.050 in College Park, Md., was its highest all-time on the road and third highest in any building — surpassing the 195.000 season-high score it reached at its Feb. 2 home Alumni Meet.
Officially halfway through a season littered with ups and downs, the Rutgers gymnastics team gets another opportunity this weekend to prove the mental game philosophies it has preached. For weeks the Scarlet Knights have stressed a mindset that is focused, consistent and stable under pressure. But putting it all together has been easier said than done. During the last three weeks, the Knights have been sporadic. They were swept by three teams Jan. 26 at Penn State, conquered three at home Feb.
Senior Daniele D’Elia leads the Knights at Maryland in their best event, the floor exercise. But D’Elia recorded a season-worst score of 9.775 last time out.
Before the season began, Rutgers head gymnastics coach Louis Levine figured freshmen would play a vital role in the team’s depth. But he could not have guessed that a freshman would serve as arguably the Scarlet Knights’ top gymnast. Despite odds against that happening, Jenna Williams has taken that title and ran with it. The Bordentown, N.J., native earned EAGL Rookie of the Week honors Feb. 5 for the second time this season, and with good reason.
During the course of the season, the Rutgers gymnastics team has strived for improved confidence and mental makeup in order to rise to an elite level in competition. While the Scarlet Knights have taken significant steps in this department since the Jan. 6 season opener, they believe some mental toughness is still lacking, especially in clutch situations. Rutgers was faced with only a half-point deficit after three events in Friday’s dual meet at Kent State, but the Knights could not capitalize.
Just when it appeared the Rutgers gymnastics team had turned a corner, the Scarlet Knights produced another incomplete performance in a 195.675-193.700 loss Friday at No. 24 Kent State. The Knights (7-6, 1-2) trailed the Golden Flashes (6-2) by just 0.500 score points after three events, but in the final rotation, Kent State pulled away. The team tallied only a 47.600 on the balance beam to complete the meet — its lowest total in the event since Jan. 6 in its season opener — while Kent State pulled away with a strong effort on the floor exercise.
When the Rutgers gymnastics team competes in a dual meet in Kent, Ohio, today, it hopes to seize what has eluded the Scarlet Knights all season: a road victory. But for the Knights (7-5, 1-2) to capture their coveted first road win, they need to go through No. 24 Kent State, which boasts a 194.875 team score average through five meets. A repeat of Rutgers’ historic 195.000 performance Saturday may not be enough. The Golden Flashes (5-2) posted a 195.800 last week and have already surpassed the 195.000 mark twice this season.
Junior Luisa Leal performed her season debut on the uneven bars Saturday at home, where she posted a score of 9.175.