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Rutgers takes loss, win in road meets against Michigan, Penn

A school record and a stellar beam lineup highlighted the Rutgers gymnastics team for its away meets against Michigan and Penn over the weekend. The Scarlet Knights (1-0) fell to the No. 9 (4-0-0, 2-0) Wolverines on Friday, posting a team score of 192.950, but came back around to record a 193.575 against the Quakers on Sunday.

First, Rutgers traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where the team took on its first Big Ten dual meet of the season.

Starting off on bars, the Knights rallied together to post their highest score of the day in the event, 48.775. Sophomore Abigail Karolewski marked a career high score of 9.825, which was also matched by senior Shannon Farrell to close the lineup.

Moving onto vault, senior team captain Kaitlyn Hall matched her career high of 9.800 in the event. Rutgers also had true freshman Hannah Joyner and juniors Toni Williams and Belle Huang post identical scores of 9.750.

"We had a strong start to our evening on bars and vault, putting up our highest event scores of the season," said head coach Umme Salim-Beasley. "We made a few mistakes on floor and ended up tightening up on beam. It wasn't the performance that we had hoped for. This team is much stronger than they showed today. It was a humbling moment and learning lesson."

The Knights were all over the mat when it came to the floor. Arguably its weakest and most inconsistent events, Rutgers made frequent mistakes by stepping out of bounds and not having clean tumbles. All-around gymnasts Joyner and Huang put up solid runs of 9.775 and 9.850, respectively, to round out the Knights.

Still not able to recover from floor, Rutgers posted one of its lowest scores of the season on beam as well, with Joyner scoring a 9.775 to lead the Knights’ lineup. 

Competing against Penn, Rutgers was led by Farrell’s 9.750 on bars, while Joyner (9.800) and true freshman Jordyn Duffield (9.775) claimed personal bests on vault.

A perfect 10 almost graced the record books with senior Erin McLachlan posting a 9.950 on beam to surpass the old school record of 9.925. Hailing from Huddersfield, England, McLachlan was out of competition last year due to an injury. Her highest beam score before this season was a 9.875 from sophomore year.

Along with McLachlan’s near-perfect 10, the Knights reached the second-highest total score on beam in program history with a 49.125. Joyner reached another 9.900, which is the third outing this season where she’s scored a 9.900 or above. Senior Jenna Ferguson and junior Emily Drauss recorded season highs on beam with each scoring 9.775.

Before the highs of the beam lineup, Rutgers was hit hard on floor. Sophomore Mia Betancourt led the floor lineup, but injured herself during the routine and was unable to finish. After Betancourt left the mat, the Knights struggled to compete and come back together for the event, totaling one of their lowest scores with a 47.650.

"I am really proud of how the team competed today. It's tough competing twice in a weekend. It really does test the endurance of a team," Salim-Beasley said. "They all competed well. Unfortunately, we lost Betancourt during her leadoff floor routine. The team had to recompose themselves after seeing a teammate injure themselves. It shook them a little bit.”

Rutgers will be on the road once again at University Park, Pennsylvania, to compete against Penn State on Friday at 7 p.m.

For updates on the Rutgers gymnastics team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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