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Rutgers Olympic Sports: New year, new goals

Wrestling, swimming, and hoops got started back in November. With the change of the calendar, the other winter sports kicked off their seasons and with some very respectable results.

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Gymnastics

They were picked to finish last in the Big Ten.  And fourth-year head coach Lou Levine, himself a Big Ten gymnastics alum, was looking for more.

"The next step is consistency from week to week," Levine said. "This is a transition year for us, not just because of the Big Ten, but we lost a strong senior class. Even so, the expectations are just as high to keep getting better and better. It's a step up in competition from week to week and I think we're up for the challenge."

The squad's opening competition was a quad meet at Penn State.  The Knighs finished third behind the first place Lions and New Hampshire, and ahead of Cornell.  "I thought it was an okay meet to start the season," Levine said. "We are not where we need to be yet, but there were no major deductions on the routines. There were just little mistakes here and there and they all added up. We gained valuable experience today and will learn from it."

RU netted a 47.500 on the uneven bars.  An all-conference (EAGL) performer in the event last season, senior Emma Hoffman paced the Scarlet Knights with a 9.700.

Junior Claudia Salinas led Rutgers in the second rotation with a 9.750 on balance beam. Senior Anastasia Halbig also added a 9.700, as the team put up a 48.450.

On floor exercise, sophomore Charly Santagado recorded a 9.800 on her routine to tie for first in the meet, the highest score for a Scarlet Knight on the day. She has now registered that score in three consecutive meets, including the EAGL Championships and NCAA Regionals last season. Classmate April Baker notched a 9.700 to help to a 47.275 team mark.

Baker competed all-around for Rutgers for the first time in her career, putting up a 38.500. Freshmen Jenna Crisalli , Elizabeth Groden and Ayana Lee joined Gipson as RU gymnasts to make their collegiate debuts.

01/17/15 at Illinois Champaign, Ill. 4:00 p.m.

Swimming & Diving

Rutgers swept a tri-meet in Florida, topping both host Miami and Tulane.

Senior Greta Leberfinger led the team with three first-place finishes, including the 100 breaststroke (1:03.99), the 200 breaststroke (2:18.19) and the 400 individual medley (4:30.49).

Junior Joanna Wu and junior Morgan Pfaff added in a pair of wins each in their respective events.

In diving, freshman Addison Walkowiak led the divers yet again. The two-time Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week honoree placed second in the 1-meter dive with a mark of 274.75. In the 3-meter dive, Walkowiak recorded a third-place score of 272.35.

The Scarlet Knights also paced the field in the 200 medley relay as the quartet of Wu, Leberfinger, Pfaff and Sarah Coyne hit the wall first in 1:46.12.

In addition, freshman diver Addison Walkowiak earned her third weekly honor of the season, being named Big Ten Freshman of the Week as announced by the league on Tuesday.

01/16/15 vs. Penn State * RU Aquatic Center 5:00 p.m. ET
01/17/15 vs. Penn State * RU Aquatic Center 11:00 a.m. ET


Track & Field

Rutgers hosted the Rutgers Invitational with Lafayette and Monmouth. On the men's side, Rutgers picked up four first place finishes and four IC4A qualifying marks at the Rutgers Invitational to kick off the 2015 indoor campaign. The Scarlet Knights earned victories by Brendan Jaeger in the 600m, Christopher Banafato in the mile, Nicholas Patterson in the pole vault and with the 4x400m relay team.

Also registering first place was the 4x400m relay team of Luke Wiley, Dylan Altland, Zachary Ghizzone and Trent Brinkofski who combined for a time 3:33.25.

In the field events, RU was led by Patterson who took first in the pole vault by clearing the bar at 4.40m (14' 5 ¼").

The Scarlet Knights earned IC4A qualifying marks with runner-up finishes in the 200m, 400m, 1000m and weight throw.

For the women, the team posted seven first place finishes. Leading the Scarlet Knights' results was senior Gabrielle Farquharson with the third fastest time on the RU all-time indoor list in the 60m and the second longest long jump on the RU all-time indoor list.

"We got off to a solid early season start. Now that we've had a good week of training and competition under our belts, we can look ahead to continuing to improve our performances," said head coach James Robinson.

RU also earned top times in the 60m hurdles, 400m, 600m and 4x400m relay. Meagan Robinson recorded a time of 8.99 in the 60m hurdles, Jillian Grant posted a top finish in 57.58 in the 400m and Nicole Nicholas logged a first place time of 1:38.48 in the 600m.

The 4x400m relay team of Drew Andrews, Kaitlyn Bedard, Grant and Farquharson also took home first place for the Scarlet Knights with their time of 3:57.38. Additionally, Paige Senatore captured the top collegiate finish in the mile. Senatore, the 2014 Metropolitan Cross Country Champion, captured a PR of 5:08.22.

Men & Women schedule

01/16-17/15 Penn State Invitational State College, Pa. All Day