TOWSON, Md. (March 8, 2013) – Propelled by a school record 39.500 all-around score from junior Luisa Leal (Cali, Columbia), Rutgers gymnastics had its highest road team score ever to defeat Towson, 195.550-194.600, Friday at the Towson Center. RU had a program-high mark of 49.100 on the vault to help eclipse the 195 team total for the third time in four weeks.
“The team really impressed me tonight,” head coach Louis Levine said. “We really stepped it up and fought hard even though it was probably not one of our best performances. I am proud of the way we competed out there from start to finish. As always, there were areas we could have done better, but overall I am pleased with the consistency shown.”
Leal broke through in her fourth all-around meet of the season to set the program record, topping her previous high of 39.375 achieved as a freshman Feb. 26, 2011. She finished at least tied for first in the meet in every event, setting career-highs on both the floor exercise (9.950) and uneven bars (9.875). One of the judges gave Leal a perfect 10.000 mark for her floor routine.
“Luisa rocked every routine,” Levine said. “That performance is what she is capable of being one of the best gymnasts in Rutgers history. Tonight she was able to put it all together.”
Rutgers (12-10, 2-3 EAGL) started off the night on uneven bars scoring a 48.450. Leal led the way, followed by freshman Jenna Williams (Bordentown, N.J.) bringing in a second-place 9.825. Williams has been the most consistent bars performer for the Scarlet Knights, pacing the team with an average of 9.818.
Moving next to vault, RU topped last week’s mark of 48.975 to re-set the school record at 49.100. Following Leal’s 9.875 and Williams tying her career high at 9.850, junior Alyssa Straub (Nazareth, Pa.) had her best score in five weeks (9.825) to boost the performance. Freshmen Danielle Verdon (Freehold, N.J.) and Nicolette Wilson (Toms River, N.J.) both helped to display the depth RU has on vault, each notching a career-high 9.775 on their turn.
Floor exercise brought in the highest score of the night for RU once again (49.175), highlighted by Leal’s 9.950. Verdon also had a strong showing with a career-high 9.825 to finish in second. Senior Danielle D’Elia (Colts Neck, N.J.), junior Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) and freshmen Katie Stebick (Waterford, Pa.) all followed in the standings with marks of 9.800 to round out the scores. The Scarlet Knights are averaging a 48.865 in the event this season.
Gunzelman, who compiled a 38.925 all-around score, tied Leal at the top of the leader board on the balance beam at 9.800. Freshman Claudia Salinas (Allendale, N.J.) and Straub (career-high) placed after that at 9.750.
The team score of 195.550 tops the previous road high of 195.050 set Feb. 17 at Maryland, as RU has posted four of its top six marks in school history since Feb. 2.
Towson (9-12, 0-6 EAGL) scored best on the vault (48.950).
The Scarlet Knights will next travel to West Virginia to close out the regular season Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. EAGL opponent Maryland will also be at the meet.
Top Scores in School History
195.975 – March 2, 2013 vs. Brockport/Cornell/William & Mary
195.550 – March 8, 2013 at Towson
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