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Rutgers and the NCAA Championships: Comparing the Knights to the rest of the B1G

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Scottrade Center and the NCAA Wrestling Championships
Scottrade Center and the NCAA Wrestling Championships
Rutgers Wrestling

Different schools have different strengths.  Not every school has outstanding swimming, or track, or whatever sport.  So, not every school will send a lot of qualifiers to the NCAA championship of that sport.  But as an exercise in looking at the Big Ten and its various members, how does Rutgers compare when it comes to competing at the national level.  How many individuals - or teams - qualified from the B1G in the Olympic sports this past winter season?

Gymnastics

There are ten teams that compete in Big Ten women's gymnastics.  Nine qualified as a team for the six Regional competitions.  Rutgers, as a team, did not.  It did have three individuals qualify for the Morgantown Regional: Freshman Elizabeth Groden, senior Luisa Leal and junior Jenna Williams will represent Rutgers gymnastics at the NCAA Regionals. The trio will compete at West Virginia University on April 4.

Rutgers had 1,477 fans at the RAC for Senior Night to close out the regular season.  And that was a great turn out as the team moved from its usual practice and competition site at the Livingston Rec Center.  But if a picture is worth a thousand words, compare Rutgers with the top of the B1G, Michigan.

Rutgers Practice Facility

Michigan Practice Facility

Head Coach Lou Levine was himself a Wolverine gymnast, so he understands what the B1G is about.  But does a 17-year old get starry eyes when looking at facilities?  Do you?

D1 Gymnastic Rankings

RANK

SCHOOL

TEAM RQS

AVG

HIGH

1

Oklahoma

197.895

197.675

198.500

2

Florida

197.790

197.536

198.225

3

Utah

197.670

197.418

198.250

4

LSU

197.650

197.484

198.375

5

Alabama

197.490

197.175

197.800

6

Michigan

197.270

197.143

197.825

7

UCLA

197.200

196.768

197.950

8

Auburn

197.045

196.635

197.750

9

Nebraska

196.990

196.618

197.325

10

Georgia

196.875

196.375

197.450

13

Penn State

196.665

196.282

197.025

14

Illinois

196.515

196.210

197.350

17

Minnesota

196.450

195.598

196.875

Last Updated - March 30, 2015

Swimming & Diving

This year's NCAA Women's Championships featured 70 Big Ten student-athletes from 10 different schools. Big Ten institutions have won 30 individual titles, including a conference-leading 10 crowns from Michigan student-athletes. Six Big Ten squads were ranked in the top 25 of the last national polls. None were higher than Minnesota appearing at No. 14.

RANK

SCHOOL

NCAA Competitors

1

California

2

Georgia

3

Stanford

4

Florida

5

Texas A&M

6

Texas

7

Auburn

8

Virginia

9

North Carolina

10

Tennessee

14

Minnesota

13

15

Indiana

14

17

Michigan

8

21

Purdue

7

22

Ohio State

7

24

Wisconsin

6

Outside of the ranked teams, Big Ten teams with NCAA qualifiers:

Iowa - 4,  Nebraska - 1,  Penn State - 8,  Rutgers - 2

Swimming Head Coach Phil Spiniello just stepped down.  He did well in building the program from the Big East to the AAC to the B1G.  Julie has a big hire here, and it will be interesting to see what kind of coach she can bring in.  Unlike many other sports, RU has a good facility at the Werblin Center.  But, Rutgers, of course, has no swimming & diving for men.  Is that an issue in hiring a coach?  There are those who say having both teams is an asset - isn't happening now at Rutgers.

Track & Field

Rutgers Track & Field came home with an All American in Gabrielle Farquharson, a terrific feat when you consider Rutgers sent only her to the NCAA Championships.  No Rutgers men qualified for the NCAA Championship.

The Big Ten sent 28 women to the championships and 38 men.  On the women's side, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State led all teams with five competitors each.  Nebraska topped the men's side with eight, followed by Illinois and Penn State, each with six competitors.

Do facilities matter in recruiting and training track athletes?  You tell me.  Rutgers has no indoor training facility for track except for the Bubble.

Michigan

Even Illinois has a 101-year old facility, The Armory, but it is a dedicated place where track & field can work.

Wrestling

Wrestlers from all 14 Big Ten schools headed to St. Louis to compete in the 2015 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The Big Ten sent 96 wrestlers, including 58 seeded grapplers, and four No. 1 seeds across the 10 weight classes.  The conference sent at least seven wrestlers in each weight class, including all 10 grapplers in the 141-, 174-, 184- and 197-pound bracket, 11 wrestlers in the 285-pound weight class and 12 participants in the 133-pound bracket.Rutgers sent five and came home with one All American, Anthony Ashnault.

NCAA competitors by team:

10 wrestlers: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State

9: Nebraska

8: Minnesota, Purdue

7: Penn State, Wisconsin

6: Northwestern

5: Rutgers

3: Maryland   2: Indiana   1: Michigan State

In its first year, Rutgers did fairly well against the B1G.  It drew well, and it gained respect against the competition.  Now comes the hard part: continuing the success and building on recruiting.  And, did we talk about facilities?

Rutgers: 3200 sf room

Michigan: 18,000 sf building, 7500 sf of mat space

Penn State  stand alone building, doubling prior size of mats