INDIANAPOLIS (March 25, 2013) – Four members of the Rutgers gymnastics team have qualified for the NCAA Regionals at West Virginia University as individuals, the governing body announced. Juniors Luisa Leal (Cali, Columbia) and Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) will compete as all-arounders, while freshmen Claudia Salinas (Allendale, N.J.) (balance beam) and Jenna Williams (Bordentown, N.J.) (uneven bars) made it on specific events.
The meet will take place Saturday, April 6 at 6 p.m. inside the WVU Coliseum.
Six teams, five all-around competitors (who are not on a qualifying team) and one individual event specialist per event (who has a minimum Regional Qualifying Score (RQS) of 9.4) were named to each of the six predetermined host sites. The four individual RU qualifiers are the most since the program sent five in 2004.
“It is great for the program to have four qualifiers to the Regionals,” head coach Louis Levine said. “We are going to push forward and try to put our best foot forward. It’s exciting to have two freshmen and two juniors, showing that the program is moving in the right direction.”
Leal, who set the school record with a 39.500 score this season, will be making her second career appearance in the NCAA Regionals after making it as a freshman in 2011. She was named Team MVP at the EAGL awards banquet in addition to earning EAGL First Team All-Vault status (9.840 RQS). Leal posted an all-around RQS of 38.875 in six meets this season.
Gunzelman will be competing as an all-arounder at the regional level for the second straight season. She set her career high with a 39.225 this season the way to a 38.710 RQS over six meets. Uneven bars proved to be Gunzelman’s most successful event this season, making EAGL First Team All-Uneven Bars (9.840 RQS).
A balance beam specialist, Salinas notched a 9.800 RQS in 11 meets in her first collegiate season. She set a career high of 9.850 on two occasions in the event, making EAGL First Team All-Balance Beam.
Williams continues her season on the uneven bars with a 9.840 RQS through all 12 Rutgers meet. A two-time EAGL Rookie of the Week, she set a career high with a 9.900 on the way to being EAGL First Team All-Uneven Bars.
Williams also was selected as an alternate to the vault (9.815 RQS), while senior Danielle D’Elia (Colts Neck, N.J.) will travel to West Virginia as a floor exercise (9.825 RQS) alternate.
The top two teams and the top two all-around competitors (who are not on an advancing team) from each regional will receive an automatic berth to the national championships in Los Angeles, Calif., April 19-21, hosted by UCLA. In addition, the event winners at each regional site will advance to the national championships (in that event only) if they are not part of a qualifying team or an all-around qualifier.
There are six regionals across the country that will all compete the same day. Click here for more information from the NCAA.
Rutgers NCAA Regional Qualifiers
All-Around: Luisa Leal, Alexis Gunzelman
Uneven Bars: Jenna Williams
Balance Beam: Claudia Salinas
Vault Alt: Jenna Williams
Floor Exercise Alt: Danielle D’Elia