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On an afternoon when fans packed bleachers inside the Livingston Recreation Center, the Rutgers gymnastics team faced high expectations in its first home quad meet of the season. The Scarlet Knights (4-2) defeated Penn and Ursinus on Saturday to capture second place with a score of 192.925, but fell short of Bridgeport, which won the meet with a score of 194.100. Coming off a tri-meet victory score of 193.900 on Jan. 12 — their highest team score in nearly two years — the Knights looked to duplicate that performance.
After more than a month of perfecting competition routines, the Rutgers gymnastics team has hit the final weeks of its preseason. Less than a month separates the Scarlet Knights from their first meet of the season Jan. 6 in Durham, N.H., and they do not finish poorly. During the team’s winter break from Sunday until Dec. 27, the Knights will not have formal practices and the challenge will be on team members to prepare individually outside of the Livingston Recreation Center.
Senior co-captain Jenna Zito competes last season in the floor exercise, where she scored 9.825 at the EAGL?Championships, the third-highest score on the team. The Knights open the season Jan. 6.
While gymnastics is an artistic sport for viewing pleasure, senior Danielle D’Elia serves as a reminder of how dangerous it can be for those participating. Since the second week of February last season, the Colts Neck, N.J., native has sporadically dealt with mild to severe concussion symptoms while competing for the Rutgers gymnastics team. Her first encounter with the injury snuck up on her after she hit her head awkwardly in practice.
A former state champion and multi-faceted gymnast in high school, Rutgers gymnastics freshman Jenna Williams feels her best days of competition are still ahead and embraces new challenges at the NCAA level.The Bordentown, N.J., native is a decorated gymnast, highlighted by titles at the New Jersey State Championships in uneven bars in 2010, balance beam in 2011 and vault in during the last two seasons.
Junior Alyssa Straub competes last year on the uneven bars, where head coach Louise Levine praised freshman Jenna Williams.
With only 15 preseason practices remaining before winter break, the Rutgers gymnastics team is accelerating its routines to ready itself to compete in a season-opening meet Jan. 6 in Durham, N.H. Head coach Louis Levine anticipates a sprint to the end of the preseason. “The goal is to be ready to compete by the end of those  practices, so that when we come back [from winter break], we can hit the ground running and really start off on the right foot for our first meet,” he said.
Junior Alyssa Straub competes on the bars during a meet at the Livingston Recreation Center last season. She is in her first season as a captain.
In a transition year that saw a changing of the guard at head coach last season, the Rutgers gymnastics team had much to adjust to. With injuries and adversity, the Scarlet Knights responded with improvement in each meet and aim to continue that trend entering their 2012-2013 season. Last season culminated in March, when the Knights peaked and posted the highest team score at the EAGL Championships in program history. But they do not want to stop there.
The last time the Rutgers men’s soccer team last made it to the Big East Tournament was two years ago. The amount of time that went by between the Scarlet Knights qualifying for the NCAA tournament was five years. The last time the Knights made it all the way to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament was a decade ago. But in the greatest single-season turnaround in Big East history, the Knights achieved all of those goals and more in earning The Daily Targum’s Team of the Year.
As the Rutgers gymnastics team’s 2012 season began, those within the program viewed it for what it was: a passing of the torch.After 25 years with the Scarlet Knights, former head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton resigned and former assistant coach Louis Levine took her place. In the first year of the Levine era, the new coach had pretty big shoes to fill.
Sophomore Alexis Gunzelman competed in the all-around this season for the Knights, with whom she set a Rutgers record with a 39.125 mark at the EAGL Championships.
When his first season as the new head coach of the Rutgers gymnastics team began, Louis Levine made one clear goal for the Scarlet Knights: improvement from meet to meet. As the Knights’ season came to a conclusion Saturday at the EAGL Championships, the culmination of their season-long improvement showed through. In its final performance of the year, Rutgers recorded its highest score of the season, 193.850, to finish in eighth place.
Junior Danielle D’Elia competes in the floor exercise Feb. 25 at the Livingston Recreation Center. D’Elia finished second on the team in the event Saturday at the EAGL?Championships.
Sophomore Alexis Gunzelman performs in the flood exercise Feb. 25 in a quad meet at the Livingston?Recreation Center. Gunzelman paced the Knights with a career-high all-around score Saturday at the EAGL?Championships in Pittsburgh.
The Rutgers gymnastics team entered its regular season with something to prove. With first-year head coach Louis Levine, the Scarlet Knights had to live up to last year’s squad, which set the program record for most wins in a season. And the Knights responded, although not entirely as a team. Not a meet went by where at least one member of the team set or tied for a personal-best score in at least one event.
Junior Danielle D’Elia paced the Knights in the floor exercise against William & Mary, earning a score of 9.850.
The Rutgers gymnastics team came to its last two stops on the road to the EAGL Championships during spring break. Its latest, a tri-meet inside Kaplan Arena at the College of William & Mary, yielded a second-place finish for the Scarlet Knights against the host team. The Knights’ rotation of uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise and vault provided them with a look into the future for the same rotation they will have at the EAGL’s.
Junior Jenna Zito performs in the floor exercise Feb. 25 in a quad meet at the Livingston Recreation Center. Zito led the Knights on Friday with a score of 48.750 in a tri-meet at William &?Mary, where Rutgers finished in second overall. The Knights next compete in the EAGL?Championships this weekend in Pittsburgh.
Sophomore Alexis Gunzelman competes on the bars Feb. 25 at the Livingston Recreation Center. Gunzelman finished second on the team Friday with a score of 9.575 in the event.