PISCATAWAY, N.J. (February 11, 2012) – Rutgers University gymnastics edged both SUNY Cortland and Brown University Saturday afternoon at the Livingston Recreation Center with a score of 192.375, improving the team’s record to 6-5 this season. The team score was the second highest this year for RU and enough to hold off Brown (190.125) and Cortland (188.625) in the team’s third home meet. With the pair of victories, the Scarlet Knights gained a winning record for the first time under first-year head coach Louis Levine and improved to 5-1 in home meets.
“It’s always good to win. Right now what we’re really stressing is to keep improving,” Levine said. “If we improve week to week I’m happy. We’ve got a great team, we’ve just have to keep making those improvements.”
Sophomores Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) and Alyssa Straub (Nazareth, Pa.) finished first and second, respectively, in all-around competition. Gunzelman recorded an overall score of 38.750 to lead the Scarlet Knights, tying a career-high and winning in the vault (9.800) and setting new marks as the victor in the balance beam (9.850) and the uneven bars (9.900). Straub finished the meet with a score of 38.225 in her fourth all-around action of the season.
Junior Jenna Zito (Rockaway, N.J.) earned a second place finish in the floor exercise with a 9.800 and tied her personal-best mark of 9.775 on the balance beam, while graduate Leigh Heinbaugh (Sicklerville, N.J.) set a new career-high with a 9.700 on the uneven bars. Also setting new career-highs were freshmen Anastasia Halbig (Schwenksville, Pa.) and Sara Skammer (Dallas, Pa.). Halbig competed in vault for the first time in her career, scoring a 9.525. The Gwynedd Mercy Academy product went on to establish a new personal-best in uneven bars, as well, with a score of 9.650. Skammer tied for second and set a personal-best in vault (9.725) while improving her career-high in floor to 9.700.
Brown (2-4) received a strong outing from its only all-arounder Michelle Shnayder, who turned in a final score of 37.475. For Cortland (1-6), Courtney Mangini and Sarah Nardrowski competed in all-around and finished the meet with scores of 36.800 and 38.450, respectively. Mangini won the floor exercise with score of 9.825.
The meet was designated as “The Pink Meet,” with gymnasts and fans joining together to support breast cancer research.
The Scarlet Knights return to action next weekend when the team travels to College Park, Md., to take on William & Mary and EAGL foes Maryland and West Virginia on Feb. 18. RU will look to win against the Mountaineers, who bested Rutgers 193.435 – 191.650, earlier this season. Rutgers owns a win against William & Mary this year, but the Scarlet Knights hope to gain their first victory (0-4) against an EAGL opponent in 2012.
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding women’s gymnastics, follow the program on Twitter @RUGymnastics. Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.