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Rutgers unable to secure victory against Michigan State

Although the Rutgers gymnastics team didn’t clinch the win at its home meet this past weekend, its seniors stole the show with three event titles against Michigan State. The Scarlet Knights totaled a team score of 193.800, but weren’t able to surpass the Spartans’ mark of 195.675.

The entire senior class of Shannon Farrell, Erin McLachlan and Kaitlyn Hall each claimed their own titles in bars, beam and vault, respectively. To finish off the bars lineup, Farrell posted a 9.875, good for first in the event. After setting the school record of 9.950 on beam at Penn, McLachlan scored at least a 9.900 for the second time this season to complete the beam lineup. Closing out the vault lineup was Hall with a score of 9.825.

Rutgers' seniors leading the event scoring is reminiscent of the leadership last year, when the seniors broke ground for the Knights to make a mark in the Big Ten. The team's competition on Saturday was the first standout performance that showed the seniors are taking leaps and bounds to move Rutgers up the conference totem pole.

Following closely in the seniors' footsteps, true freshman Hannah Joyner placed second in nearly every single event for an all-around score of 39.150. Joyner landed a 9.775 on vault, 9.825 on beam and 9.850 on floor for the second-best scores in the Knights’ lineups. She also produced a 9.700 on bars.

With what was displayed in the meet, it looks as if Rutgers is getting back into the swing of things on floor, as it finished with a season-high score of 48.850 in the event. The event that the Knights struggled in at the beginning became the event that they most improved upon by the end.

Opening up the floor lineup, junior Abigail Karolewski fought through her routine to finish with a 8.850. After that, though, Rutgers rallied together to produce scores above 9.600.

Even though the Knights did well on floor, they suffered on bars, posting their lowest mark of the season with a team event score of 47.550. Half of the lineup stuck its landings, but others looked shaky throughout their entire routines. Junior Emily Drauss, Hall and junior Belle Huang began the lineup with scores of 9.150, 8.900 and 9.100, respectively. 

Though bars has the ability to be one of the most consistent events for Rutgers, as all but one of its gymnasts are returners, the Knights couldn’t gain any momentum at the beginning. Fortunately for her team, Joyner pulled together a 9.700 in her routine that brought the spark Rutgers needed to close out the lineup on a high note.

For the third time this season, the Knights came together for a team event score above the 49.000 mark, with this time coming in beam. A big nod to the mark is thanks to true freshman Jenna Ferguson and Drauss. Drauss had two scores of 9.800 in the event.

Although the development under head coach Umme Salim-Beasley continues to show itself in the scores after each passing meet, Rutgers still has yet to have a competition where everyone is performing at the same high level. 

The Knights' next opportunity to compete will be at an away meet against Maryland at the Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland. Competition is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Since the Terrapins are coming off a loss to No. 14 Nebraska and haven’t been producing the same scores that they had at the beginning of the season, Rutgers has a chance of claiming a victory.

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

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