RU aims to fix errors to tie program-best start

According to Rutgers head gymnastics coach Louis Levine, the Scarlet Knights cannot compete with the best teams in the country if they continue to put up performances like in last Friday’s victory against Brown.

The Knights have not lost all season en route to their best start since 1978, but scored under 195 for the first time this season against the bears.

Their score of 46.85 on the beam kept Brown within 1 total point going into the final event at the Livingston Gym. It was Rutgers’ lowest score in an event where they reached the high 48s through their first three meets.

“[Brown] could end up being the most important meet we have had so far, because if we could learn how to handle what just happened and grow from that, it’s going to make major dividends in the end,” Levine said.

The Knights were able to keep the lead, finishing with the floor exercise, their best event this season.

“After beam, we knew we had to pick it up, but floor is one of our best events,” said junior Anastasia Halig.

Junior all-around Luisa Leal tied her season-high score of 9.925 in that event with an impressive routine. Earlier in the meet, she got up slowly after failing to secure her dismount from the uneven bars.

“She knows who she is. Some of the team is still trying to figure out what we are, but she knows what she is,” said Levine. “I was really happy to see her come back on floor.”

Against Texas Woman’s University tomorrow night, Rutgers can tie its best start in program history.

Levine said he intended to focus on fixing the small errors that led to the low score against Brown but acknowledged the Pioneers are a stronger team than the Bears.

“Obviously, [the small errors] didn’t kill us because we still won, but Texas Woman’s is a good team and a team where we’re not going to be able to have the meet we had and be able to win down at their place,” he said. “We are going to have to get up there and be consistent hitting out routines. If we hit our routines, the rest takes care of itself.”

Senior Jenna Zito had her lowest scores of the season against Brown, beginning with a missed landing on the vault.

But the co-captain intends to put it in the past.

“The past weekend wasn’t my best performance, and we had a tough time as a team and I could have done more,” she said. “But bad days happen, and it’s just more motivating to get back and be there for my team like I have done in the past.”

Junior uneven bars specialist Jenna Hoffman was the outlier for the Knights, earning a career-high 9.850 last Friday. She was rewarded with EAGL Specialist of the Week honors and tied for third in the conference on bars, with a 9.788 average.

The only other Knight to earn a conference honor this season, freshman April Baker, is not expected to perform on Saturday with an undisclosed injury. She sat out against Brown while wearing a boot and using crutches.

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