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Rutgers Gymnastics has two NCAA Regional Qualifiers

Groden and Shank travel to Happy Valley next weekend.

FloSports: FloGymnastics Big Ten Championships
Shank on balance beam at 2017 B1G Championships
Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

Last weekend at Illinois, the Rutgers gymnastics team took third place in the early session. Afterward the team awaited the results of the evening (Michigan edged Nebraska for the team title) and then to find out which Scarlet Knight gymnasts would qualify for the NCAA regionals. This year’s east regional takes place at Penn State on Saturday, April 7 at 4 p.m.

Seniors Libby Groden and Makenzey Shank (both academic All-Big Ten) got the good news that they qualified and will represent the Scarlet Knights at the event. Shank will compete in the balance beam, the event she tied a school record earlier this year. Groden will become the first RU gymnast to appear at four NCAA Regionals as she will appear in the all-around once again.

Groden is one of 14 national semifinalists for the AAI Award, akin to the Heisman trophy of gymnastics. Libby returned from injury to notch a 38.950 at the Big Five meet on March 17, so she has momentum heading into the event. She looks to best her performance of a 39.050 at the NCAA Regionals held in West Virginia a season ago.

Shank is set to make her first appearance in the Regionals on balance beam. “Micki” picked up a 9.855 RQS, spurred by the 9.925 on Feb. 24 she totaled to tie the school record. She finished the season strong with a 9.800 or better in seven of the last eight contests.

Two Scarlet Knight gymnasts were named alternates for the event, Toni Williams and Belle Huang, both freshmen. Williams impressed as the team leader in vault but did not participate in the B1G Championships. Huang earned a 38.810 RQS in nine all-around competitions and just barely missed the cut in the balance beam individual event as well.

RU has now sent representatives to NCAA Regionals seven times years in a row, every year Louis Levine has been the head coach.

Good luck ladies!

Next up

NCAA regionals Penn State, Saturday, April 7 at 4 p.m.

Off the mat

Construction continues, this time for a few indoor sports including gymnastics: