This weekend Rutgers heads into what is for the moment, the center of the gymnastics universe. Unfortunately, this is a consequence of former Michigan State and USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar being sentenced to significant prison time for sexual misconduct. Then last night, Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon resigned as a result. Hopefully this does not serve as too much of a distraction for those competing and instead empowers them.
On the apparatus, Rutgers came away with a 194.875 - 194.050 victory during the regular season last year. Michigan State got their revenge when they edged Rutgers during the Big Ten Championships at the RAC a season ago by a mere half a point, 195.200 - 194.700. So this should be a competitive meet between the two programs. Rutgers has one Michigan native on the team, junior Riahanah Ali, who will return to her home state for the meet.
Last weekend the Scarlet Knights fell to perennial Big Ten powerhouse and last year’s regular season champion Nebraska in Lincoln. The team did improve in floor exercise, uneven bars, and vault. The team score on the balance beam was identical to the week before.
Check out some highlights in the tweet below.
Never be comfortable with just "good enough" ⚔️— Rutgers Gymnastics (@RUGymnastics) January 23, 2018
We're continuing to chase greatness this season, so check out these highlights from our trip to Nebraska! #RUGym #weRpowerful #nineTEAM
Individually, freshman Toni Williams made her collegiate debut on floor exercise, tallying a 9.775. Makenzey Shank paced the team in the event. In the other three events, Belle Huang notched the highest mark on beam, Sophia Atienza on vault, with Shannon Farrell and Libby Groden tops on bars. Groden was the only gymnast to compete in all four events, scoring a 38.825.
NOTE: “Regular” Football signing day is approaching, but for many other sports the athletes have already signed National Letters of Intent. Commits for the gymnastics program include Mia Betancourt and Abigail Karolewski. Betancourt will head to RU from Berks Catholic High School in Reading, Pennsylvania. Karolewski hails from nearby Hillsborough though she did train at the Karolyi Ranch in Houston as a youngster, the Team USA training center.
Up Next: At Michigan State for quad meet with Eastern Michigan and Pittsburgh.