PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers gymnastics team held its annual postseason banquet on Sunday, April 25, and handed out several awards, including the Most Valuable Player and Most Improved Player honors.
The MVP honors were shared by Elizabeth Fittery (Denver, PA) and Stephanie Zick (Pittsburgh, PA). A freshman, Fittery competed in the all-around 10 times during the 2004 season, averaging a 38.342 and qualifying as an alternate for the Northeast Regional, which was held at Penn State. Her best event was the floor exercise, where she scored a 9.724. At the EAGL Championships, she scored a 38.00 in the all-around to finish in 17th place.
Zick, a second-team All-EAGL selection on bars, qualified for the Northeast Regional and averaged a 9.798 on bars this season. Her season-high score was 9.900 against North Carolina, Ursinus and Cortland in the regular-season home finale. On the floor, Zick averaged a 9.756 and helped the floor exercise rotation break the school record with a combined score of 49.225 against Maryland, Temple and Bridgeport on Feb. 28.
The Most Improved Player award went to Nicole Bradder (Dover, NH), who competed in the all-around 11 times this season and averaged a 37.918. Her season-high score came on Feb. 28 when she had a 38.600.
Senior Lisa Abrams (Mt. Ephraim, NJ) earned the Outstanding Award for setting the school record on the balance beam with a 9.925 against Temple on Jan. 21. Abrams broke Dana Koga’s record of 9.900 set on Feb. 13, 1999 against Bridgeport, Pittsburgh and Ursinus. In the final home meet of the season, Abrams tied her own school record against North Carolina, Ursinus and Cortland.
The Scarlet Knights also handed out the 100 percent awards, which are given for perfect routines throughout the season. On vault, the winners were Lorena Johnson (Lilburn, GA) and Jayme Shelton (Griffin, GA) while Tracy Heckler (Laurel Springs, NJ) and Zick were the honorees on bars. Senior Caitlin Wight (Washington, PA) was the winner on the floor.
The Noble Award was given to senior Laura Iepson (Sweetwater, NJ), who battled injuries this season and served as one of RU’s tri-captains.
Rutgers concluded its 2004 season with an overall record of 17-6, marking the most wins in program history. The season was also highlighted by the 200th career victory for head coach Chrystal Chollet-Norton, who reached the milestone on January 24 against James Madison.