Rutgers aims to improve RQS in final quad meet

<p class="p1">Senior Alexis Gunzelman scored a 38.700 last weekend in the all-around.</p>

Senior Alexis Gunzelman scored a 38.700 last weekend in the all-around.

Coming off its second straight record-breaking weekend after a program-best 196.225 score, the Rutgers gymnastics team looks to carry that momentum into its final meet of the regular season.

The Scarlet Knights travel tomorrow to face conference foes North Carolina, and ECAC rivals William & Mary and Brown in their final meet before the EAGL championships.

Rutgers faced Brown in a dual meet on Jan. 24, scoring a 193.025 to Brown’s 190.625. The Knights struggled on balance beam and finished with their lowest total for the season with a 46.850.

Since then, Rutgers has scored at least a 47.925 on beam and at least a 49.000 in its last three meets.

Senior Alexis Gunzelman scored a 39.175 in the all-around competition at that meet. She has topped that mark three times.

Gunzelman said that last weekend’s team score helped moved the Knights in the right direction.

“I think it’s said every weekend, we still have little things to work on but this is the right direction. This is where we need to go,” Gunzelman said. “We need to just keep on hitting the numbers like we hit in the gym this past weekend and we’ll get to regionals like we want to [and] we’ll win EAGL like we want to.”

Sophomore Katie Stebick, who has been consistent on floor exercise for Rutgers, hopes her team can move their hot streak going forward.

“We’re very excited. There’s a lot of momentum and we just can’t wait to carry that momentum into these next couple of weeks,” Stebick said.

William & Mary and Brown are schools that the Knights have seen in the past and both hold lower regional qualifying scores than Rutgers by nearly three points at 192.490 and 192.460, respectively. 

Regional qualifying scores determine which 36 schools qualify for the six NCAA regional competitions held in early April.

The Knights are currently ranked 32nd with a RQS of 195.200 for the team and rank between 29th and 33rd on individual apparatuses. 

They sit in third place in the EAGL behind North Carolina State and New Hampshire.

Head coach Louis Levine believes no major adjustments need to be made.

“Don’t change what we’re doing,” Levine said. “We’ve just got to keep training hard. … We’re not going to change a lot, we’re just going to fine tune the small things and that’s the difference between those 194s and 195s and the 196s.”

Those small things include hops on landings, straight legs, pointed toes and bobbles known as balance checks on beam. 

In a sport where placements are often decided by tenths or hundredths of a point, even the smallest details add up to costly deductions.

Freshman Claire Jones earned EAGL Rookie of the Week honors for the second-straight week after a solid beam routine for the second week in a row and a career-high 9.900 score on floor exercise last weekend.

Despite the record-breaking scores from the past two meets, Levine knows that Rutgers has yet to put out its best.

“I don’t know if anyone had their best routine. I know they had some of their best scores [but] I don’t know if they’ve actually had their best routine,” Levine said. “And that’s what we really are going for — I want to see everybody put together their best routines. When you put together your best routine at the best time, we’ll get our best results.”

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