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RU gymnastics team season over: Groden earns regional bid

Libby on way to WVU, Knights finish 8th in B1G

Indiana v Rutgers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

And then there was one ...

Libby Groden will head to the NCAA regionals in Morgantown to continue a strong season, but the majority of the Lady Knights will be on the golf course , studying hard the rest of the semester.

Groden, a junior, will represent Rutgers gymnastics at the NCAA Regionals competing Saturday at 4 p.m. She has qualified for the meet in each of her three seasons. In two of those seasons she was Academic All-Big Ten (Major: visual art). She also took home the hardware as RU’s recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

The all-around skilled Groden is coming off a Second Team All-Big Ten season that included at least a 9.7 a very consistent 37 times out of a total of 48 routines. That amounted to a 38.940 all-around regional qualifying score (RQS), good enough to qualify for the aforementioned NCAA Regionals. Her bests include 9.800 on floor exercise and 9.850 on balance beam alongside a 9.725 RQS on vault, 9.735 RQS on uneven bars.

In the 2016 regionals, Groden improved on her freshman regional score of 38.850 with a 39.025 last season. Let’s hope she can do it again! She also hopes to surpass her best all-around performance of her career (39.075 on 3/5/17 at CMU).

Groden will rotate with the ladies from George Washington.

As a team at the B1G championships held at the RAC, the Knights finished in 8th place overall. Rutgers picked up a 194.700 (8th 194+ as a team in 2017), edging Maryland who had 193.625. (mid-season review here.) In fact RU was closer to first place in the session as Michigan State won it all by a razor thin margin over the second place Golden Gophers (195.200 to 195.175). Michigan scored 197.300 to defend their 2016 title.

Makenzey Shank and Claire Jones were recognized on the All-Championships Team. Groden totaled a 38.950 all-around while Michelle Amoresano collected a 37.625.

RU’s best performance was in the first rotation: 48.900 on floor exercise paced by Riahanah Ali’s 9.850.

Jones vaulted her way to third overall to a 9.875 (her season best). Other notable results: Erin McLachlan 9.800, Team 48.675.

Third rotation: Team 48.500 on uneven bars on the shoulders of Groden’s high score of the day, (9.800).

Balance beam total was 48.625 on the heels of Shank’s 9.850. Other notable: April Baker’s 9.725 was the last performance of her career.

Coach Louis Levine praised the effort required of the host, “Hosting this was an all hands on deck effort and I’m thankful for all who helped to put this on.”

Noteworthy: the competition was staged up on a podium for the first time in the 36 year history of the meet.