PISCATAWAY, N.J. (March 2, 2013) – In its final home meet of the season, Rutgers gymnastics made history with a school record 195.975 team score to win a quad meet Saturday at the Livingston Recreation Center. The Scarlet Knights also set program records on the vault (48.975) and the floor exercise (49.250).
RU improved to 11-10 on the season by defeating Cornell (191.325), William & Mary (191.100) and Brockport (188.750). The team caps the home season with an average of 194.450 in four meets.
“It’s pretty amazing, this is what we have been pushing for,” head coach Louis Levine said. “In all honesty, we can actually do better than what we did today. We have to keep striving to get better and better but I do not want to downplay this moment. We have built towards this all season, knowing we were capable of this type of performance.”
The tone of the meet was set right away for the Scarlet Knights on the vault with a school record 48.975 in the event. Junior Luisa Leal (Cali, Columbia) highlighted the performance with a program-high 9.925 mark. She had previously held the record with Rachael Ciarlante at 9.875. Junior Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) had a career-high as well, notching a 9.825. Junior Alyssa Straub (Nazareth, Pa.) and freshman Jenna Williams (Bordentown, N.J.) both added scores of 9.800 to contribute to the event record. The prior high was 48.825 at the EAGL Championships in 2011.
Moving on to uneven bars, RU put up a season-high 48.950 score – the third-best in Rutgers history. Williams notched a career-high 9.900 to post the highest mark in the meet. Gunzelman followed with a 9.850, with senior Danielle D’Elia (Colts Neck, N.J.) registering a 9.800 in her final home meet. The Scarlet Knights are now averaging a 48.508 in the event this season.
The Scarlet Knights continued the momentum with a 48.800 on the balance beam. Freshman Claudia Salinas (Allendale, N.J.) sustained her consistent performances with a meet-high 9.850. Senior Emma-Rose Trentacosti (Ridgefield Park, N.J.) ranked second on the day with a 9.800, while Williams followed in a tie for third at 9.750. The team score was the fourth-best in RU history and second-highest this season.
Finishing strong on the floor exercise, all six Rutgers competitors scored at least a 9.775 to bring in a team record 49.250. Leal capped the event with a 9.900 to lead the way. D’Elia scored a 9.875 in her routine, with Gunzelman and freshman Katie Stebick (Waterford, Pa.) each notching a 9.850. Senior Nicole Romano (Livingston, N.J.) scored a 9.775 to lead off the lineup in her final performance at the Livingston Recreation Center. RU brought the season average up to 48.831, the best of any event.
Gunzelman set her career-high with a 39.225 all-around score on the day. Leal also competed in all four events with a 38.800 mark. It was the third straight week the duo saw all-around action.
The team score of 195.975 bested the previous record of 195.400 set Feb. 26, 2000 at home. The Scarlet Knights look to move up the ranking after coming into the week at No. 43 in the nation. The top 36 teams qualify for NCAA Regionals.
Following the final rotation, Levine and the program recognized its five seniors – D’Elia, Romano, Trentacosti, Jayne Jeffreys (Jackson, N.J.), Jenna Zito (Rockaway, N.J.) – and one student manager, Caity Britcher.
“All the seniors did a great job today and all have been leaders throughout the year,” Levine said. “They have all helped this program step up to another level. This is a moment they have been working for – you couldn’t write a better ending to their home careers.”
Rutgers will next head back on the road to compete at Towson Friday, March 8 at 7 p.m.
Top Scores in School History
195.975 – March 2, 2013 vs. Brockport/Cornell/William & Mary
195.400 – Feb. 26, 2000 vs. Ursinus
195.125 – March 1, 2000 vs. Eastern Michigan
195.050 – Feb. 17, 2013 at Maryland with West Virginia
195.000 – Feb. 2, 2013 vs. Brown/Pitt/S. Connecticut