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Rutgers Olympic Sports: S & D, Gymnastics, and Track with good weekends

And incredibly Lacrosse is around the corner.


Capturing first in 11 of 16 events, Rutgers Swimming and Diving cruised to a 183-117 victory over New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon. The Scarlet Knights improve to an overall dual record of 8-1.

"It was a great team win today," said head coach Phil Spiniello. "I am happy with where we are in our training and how we are able to compete as a whole."

Rutgers notched two first-place finishes in both relay events. In the 200 medley relay, the group of Joanna Wu, Greta Leberfinger, Morgan Pfaff and Sarah Coyne hit the wall first at 1:45.72.

Moving to the 200 freestyle relay, the quartet of Wu, Rachel Stoddard, Coyne and Meghan Kiely registered a first-place mark of 1:36.45.

Individually, Wu and Leberfinger led RU with two top finishes apiece. Wu paced the field in the 100 backstroke (55.97) and 200 backstroke (2:02.98), while Leberfinger dominated the 100 breaststroke (1:03.67) and the 200 breaststroke (2:17.93).

In the 200 butterfly Pfaff finished first touching the wall at (2:05.27), followed by freshman Thomi Lee with a career-best time of 2:07.67.

On the boards, the Scarlet Knights claimed the top-three positions of the 1-meter dive for the second consecutive meet. The Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week and ECAC Co-Rookie of the Week, Addison Walkowiak, took first with a score of 306.90, followed by freshman Morgan Engel in second (287.99) and sophomore Alyssa Black in third (278.17) in the event.

Walkowiak also placed first in the 3-meter dive (301.65), while Engel grabbed another second-place finish (287.62).


Behind a strong start with season-bests on vault (48.975) and uneven bars (49.100), Rutgers gymnastics scored a season-high 195.375 Saturday in its home opener in front a sold out crowd at the Livingston Rec Center. The Scarlet Knights also recorded a season-best 48.875 on floor exercise.

No. 6 Nebraska won the quad meet with a 196.250 mark, while RU (3-4, 0-3 B1G) finished ahead of Southern Connecticut (190.450) and Brockport (188.075).

"Vault has been a strength for us and it was great to start with it and springboard us towards the rest of the meet," fourth-year head coach Louis Levine said. "That is an advantage of being at home. I also saw improvement on bars and floor, which we were looking for. I'm really proud of how the girls competed today."

Sophomore April Baker led the way on vault at 9.850, while senior Luisa Leal as closely behind at 9.800. Senior Sara Skammer and freshman Sahara Gipson each contributed a 9.750 to the score, with juniors Jenna Williams and Nicolette Wilson both adding a 9.700 to round out the rotation.

On uneven bars RU posted a 49.100. Senior Emma Hoffman anchored the rotation with a career-best 9.900 on her routine to tie for the meet high. Williams (9.850), Baker (9.800) and sophomore Charly Santagado (9.825) all joined Hoffman with at least a 9.800, while senior Anastasia Halbig and Skammer started the lineup with a pair of 9.725 marks.

On balance beam Halbig scored a team-best 9.875 in the third rotation to tie her career high. Freshman Libby Groden followed with a 9.800 in her first collegiate home meet, as junior Claudia Salinas added a 9.775 as the anchor to highlight 48.425 team score on beam.

The Scarlet Knights finished the meet with a strong 48.875 on floor exercise. Baker ended the rotation with a 9.875. Sophomore Claire Jones contributed a 9.800 in her season debut.  Baker competed all-around for the third time in as many meets, posting a career-best 38.800. She was one of three competitors in the meet to participate in all four events.

Gymnastics has been drawing excellent crowds over the last several years, and this quad was no exception. "The energy level was great here today," Levine said of the crowd. "I feel like it is an experience. You have the gymnastics meet, the music, the crowd. The energy inside the gym really pushed us."

Men's Track & Field

The Rutgers men's indoor track and field team took second place at the Metro Team Challenge at the Armory on Friday. Highlights from Friday's meet include Stuart Tweedie taking home the 200m title and D'Andre Jordan capturing the 400m title.

In all, the Scarlet Knights garnered five IC4A qualifying marks.  In addition to Tweedie's  IC4A qualifying time of 48.11in winning the 200m and Jordan's first place IC4A qualifying mark of 48.11 in the 400m, Rutgers' 4x400m relay squad  also ran to qualifying time. Jordan, along with Zachary Ghizzone, Brendan Jaeger and Jordan Jimerson combined for a time of 3.18.85 in their second place finish

The Scarlet Knights also picked up IC4A qualifying marks in a pair of field events. AJ Vance took third clearing the bar at 2.04m (6' 8 ¼") in the high jump and Joseph Velez placed second at a distance of 18.57m (60' 11 ¼") in the weight throw.

Women's Track & Field

The Rutgers women's indoor track and field team finished in fourth place at the Metro Team Challenge held at the Armory on Friday. Senior GGabrielle Farquharson won the 60m, 200m and long jump while junior Paige Senatore was the runner-up in the 3000m.

"The  team  competed  well  today  and  they  were  able  to  establish  more  PRs  and season  bests," said head coach James Robinson.  "Now, we'll  analyze  our  results  up  through this  competition  to  access   what  adjustments  we  may  need  to  make  in  training.   We'll  take  these  next two weeks  to  train  more  intensely  in  an  effort  to  defend  our  Metropolitan Conference  Team  Title  from  2014."

In the long jump, Farquharson tied last week's Penn State Invitational performance. Having won the long jump in the last three consecutive weeks at the Rutgers Invitational, Penn State Invitational and now the Metro Team Challenge, she reached a distance of 6.31m (20' 8 ½"), which keeps her atop the Big Ten standings and fifth nationally.

Farquharson won the 60m title in an ECAC qualifying time of 7.48, besting her previous top performance of 7.53 from the season opening Rutgers Invitational meet. Her time ranks her fourth among her Big Ten peers.

In the 200m, Farquharson captured first in an ECAC qualifying time of 24.04, while her teammate freshman Bria Saunders placed third with an ECAC qualifying time of 24.88.

Senatore was the third Scarlet Knight to pick up an ECAC qualifying mark on Friday. She was the runner-up in the 3000m, taking second place with her time of 9:53.21.

Women's Lacrosse

We're not even done with the winter season and we're looking ahead to the beginning of the spring and Lacrosse.  For the first time ever, the Big Ten will be sponsoring both men's and women's lacrosse as a conference sport. The Big Ten Conference released Monday the results of the women's lacrosse preseason poll. Entering the inaugural season of Big Ten lacrosse, the Scarlet Knights were picked to finish fifth in the six-team conference.

Maryland was selected unanimously by league coaches to finish atop the standings, with Northwestern coming in second. Ohio State and Penn State were picked to finish tied for third, Rutgers fifth and Michigan sixth to round out the poll.

"We are extremely excited for our first season of Big Ten lacrosse and welcome the excitement of this season," said head coach Laura Brand-Sias. "While fifth is not where we plan to finish, we are eager to get started and look forward to hosting the Big Ten Championship in High Point Solutions Stadium"

In addition to the preseason poll, the Big Ten also announced its women's lacrosse players to watch list. Redshirt seniors Erin Turkot and Lauren Sbrilli and junior Kristen Kocher ere the Rutgers representatives on the list.

"It is an honor to mention these student athletes as Big Ten Players to Watch," Brand-Sias added. "They embody the hard work and commitment it will take to succeed in this conference and I know they will continue to pave the path for both our present and our future"

Sbrilli led RU with 37 points and 30 goals last season, while Kocher finished third in points production with 25 on the year (19g, 6a). Turkout will return to the defensive lineup for the Scarlet Knights this season after missing time last year due to injury.

Rutgers concluded the 2014 campaign with a 9-9 overall record and claimed the No. 4 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament to mark the squad's first postseason appearance since 2008.

The first-ever Big Ten Women's Lacrosse Championship will go through Piscataway, as Rutgers is set to host the tournament from April 30 - May 3 at High Point Solutions Stadium.