Rutgers wins at Penn even with season low on floor exercise
While a win is a win, the Rutgers gymnastics team earned a sloppy one Sunday in Philadelphia.
Competing in a tri-meet at Penn against the Quakers and West Chester, the Scarlet Knights fell well short of the 195 scores they were earning at the beginning of the season.
Their team score of 193.675 was the third lowest of the season and second lowest in a win.
“We put ourselves in a hole but we did a great job digging out,” said head coach Louis Levine. “Our first two events were a struggle and then we did a great job on our last two events. It just comes down to [having] to do a better job starting our meets.”
Penn finished second with a score of 190.85 followed by West Chester with a 190.65, season- highs for both teams.
Senior Alexis Gunzelman was the only Knight to compete all around.
She earned a season-low score of 38.025, one week after reaching a career-high 39.35 in an impressive performance at George Washington.
“It’s disappointing,” Gunzelman said. “I didn’t have the confidence that I went in with last week and I don’t know where that stems from. But I think it’s important to see that, yeah I’m disappointed in myself, but also I feel horrible for letting the team down.”
The Knights were once again without junior Luisa Leal and junior uneven bars specialist Emma Hoffman — both injured Feb. 1 at Texas Women’s University.
“I don’t think it’s just [the younger players] that have to step up. I think everybody has to step up,” said freshman Claire Jones. “There are freshmen going into the lineup and older girls.”
They have shuffled multiple gymnasts in their places, including seniors Alexandria Ivol and Alyssa Straub.
Ivol earned a 9.725 on the bars a week after making her season debut with a 9.575.
The team earned a 48.975 on the bars in their final rotation. Gunzelman took the top spot in the event with a 9.875, followed by freshman Charly Santagado and sophomore Jenna Williams.
Straub competed on the beam and the vault for her second consecutive meet, earning a respectable 9.725 and 9.55 in each event.
“Alyssa is competing because she got healthy, not necessarily because someone else is injured,” Levine said. “She has been one of the better vaulters her entire career here.”
Her vault score was the third best in an event where the Knights swept the top four.
Gunzelman and junior Sara Skammer led the event and sophomore Nicolette Wilson came in fourth. They finished with a team score of 48.675.
Rutgers and Penn tied with scores of 47.975 on beam. Jones’ 9.825 and junior Anastasia Halbig’s 9.8 led the event and were season highs for both gymnasts.
Gunzelman had an uncharacteristically poor performance, earning 16th place with a 9.075.
“On beam, I just rushed from start to finish on every skill. It wasn’t what I usually do,” Gunzelman said. “I guess that in this sport it does happen, but I just need to be able to recover from it.”
Rutgers came in third on the floor with a 48.05, its lowest score of the season by half a point.
For updates on the Rutgers gymnastics team, follow Justin Lesko on Twitter @JLeskoRU. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.