PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Feb. 26, 2014) – After a weekend home, Rutgers gymnastics hits the road for the fourth time in five weeks to compete at Cornell Saturday, March 1 at 2 p.m. The competition will take place inside Teagle Hall Gymnasium, as the Scarlet Knights are 8-1 this season in five away meets.
RUTGERS MEET PREVIEW
Most recently, Rutgers (12-2) took second with a 194.575 in a home quad meet in front of a record crowd at the Livingston Recreation Center. The Scarlet Knights hold an RQS of 194.615, ranking No. 30 in the nation, with four meets remaining. The top 36 teams nationally qualify for the NCAA Regionals. The RQS also ranks second in the EAGL behind NC State.
Rutgers posted season-high scores on the balance beam (49.000) and floor exercise (49.050) to finish last week’s meet. Senior Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) was named EAGL Gymnast of the Week for the second time in three weeks following a career-best all-around score of 39.400. Gunzelman paced the meet on beam and floor, tying her career-high 9.875 on beam and setting a career-best (9.900) on floor. All RU competitors on the beam and floor recorded at least a 9.725.
Cornell maintains an RQS of 190.275. The Big Red has posted a score of 190.025 at the Ivy Classic last weekend. Head coach Paul Beckwith is in his 19th season at the helm of the program.
HEAD COACH LOUIS LEVINE Q&A
On the record-breaking attendance: “Thank you to the alumni and all who came out. The energy level was great and the place was packed. There wasn’t an empty seat for sure. It is great to have the alums back because they help bring that energy. Every year it turns out to be our biggest meet of the year in terms of attendance. The expectations for the next home meet will be pretty much be the same way. It is great. The girls feed off of it and they enjoy playing to the crowd. I know at one point our girls were running up and down the vault runway getting the crowd going. That energy is contagious and the team fed off of it. The fans fed off of the team’s energy and it went back and forth. It was really a fun experience.”
On the team’s performance: “Overall, it turned out it was a pretty good meet. We just have to put together that complete meet. We did three good events. We’re just missing that fourth event. If we want to be challenging for a conference championship, NCAA Regionals and the all things that we are talking about wanting to be, then we have got to get up and hit all four events.”
On the season-high beam performance: “There was this confidence level that you could see in routines on beam. Routine after routine, the confidence just built and built and built and the scores just built and built and built. We have been talking about how that is what we are capable of. I’m glad we were able to go out there and show that.”
On capturing that complete meet: “It is the focus for every meet. After getting a few routines under your belt, you get a little more comfortable. We keep trying to do that as we move forward. We try to fix those little things on events so instead of going 49, we go 49.200, and instead of 48.750 we go 49.000. Those things can help us take little steps up because that is what its all about now. All those little steps can lead to one big jump forward.”
INTERVIEW WITH SENIOR ALYSSA STRAUB