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Rutgers gymnastics chooses 2 seniors captains for upcoming season

As the Rutgers gymnastics team prepares for its second season under head coach Umme Salim-Beasley, the Scarlet Knights chose two seniors, Shannon Farrell and Kaitlyn Hall, to be captains for the 2019-2020 season.

Farrell is in her third season on the Banks, after competing for Arizona in the Pacific-12 Conference (PAC-12). She and Hall were both Academic All-Big Ten honorees this year.

Farrell, an Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey, native, returned to her home state for the 2018 season as a sophomore. She saw time in all 12 of Rutgers' meets on the uneven bars and the balance beam on the floor. She placed the Knights with a 9.790 Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) that year.

Last year as a junior, Farrell participated in just the uneven bars, notching a career-high 9.925 score in that event. The 5-foot-5-inch Farrell finished in first place during three events during the 2018-19 season.

Back on Jan. 19, Farrell posted a 9.275 in the team's first home match against Nebraska, held at the Livingston Recreation Center.

She achieved perhaps her greatest accomplishment as a Rutgers athlete on March 8, where she became the first gymnast since 2003 to notch a top score on the uneven bars with a 9.925. 

For Hall, an out-of-state student hailing from Raytown, Missouri, the captain honor rewards her for staying on the Banks for the past three seasons. Hall, a state champion in 2013 in all gymnastics events, appeared in 13 competitions last season. 

Hall tallied her career-high on both the uneven bars and the balance beam with a 9.825 score. She was named the 2019 Most Improved Gymnast along with the Pom Pom Award and the Coaches' Appreciation Award. 

As a freshman, Hall saw three appearances on the uneven bars. Eventually, she earned her best performance of the season with a 9.750 against Southeast Missouri. Also on the vault, she had finished in second place.

She made her first appearance at Illinois-Chicago with a 9.650 score on the uneven bars. 

As a sophomore, Hall appeared in four meets. Against Ohio State, she tallied a 9.700 in the uneven bars event. 

In Missouri, Hall participated in gymnastics for Xtreme Gymnastics. In 2014, she won the vault and the all-around as a high school student. Hall also competed in several Junior Olympic Nationals events.

At the Christmas on the Chesapeake event, Hall stood atop the podium in every event. 

Last season, Hall averaged a 9.712 in the vault event. She also averaged a 9.642 and 9.604 in the bars and beam events, respectively.

At the Big Ten Championships back on March 23, Hall notched a 9.700 on the vault, tying her best score at the conference championship. She also attained a 9.700 on the beam, while amassing a 9.675 in the uneven bars event.

The gymnastics team has yet to announce its 2020 slate. One thing's for certain, though: The Knights will be without several key gymnasts to open the season. Alumni Riahanah Ali, Jenna Rizkalla, Michelle Amoresano and Eriel Santagado all graduated. 

Ali was one of the team's captain this past season while earning the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award. She was also an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2018 and 2017. She was on the Big Ten All-Championship team in 2016.

Amorseano, another team captain, won the 2019 Hardest Worker Award, one of the team's awards at the end of the season. She finished with a 9.875 score in the vault event.

"They lead by example and use their experiences to help encourage and motivate their teammates inside and outside of the gym," Salim-Beasley said. "They proved last season that they were able to overcome injuries and thrive. Both were major contributors to every competition last year." 

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