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Rutgers Gymnastics hosts Maryland Saturday at 3pm

Scarlet Knights look to recapture form they had in 1st home meet.

FloSports: FloGymnastics Big Ten Championships
Maryland was edged by Rutgers at the 2017 Big Ten gymnastics championships at the RAC.
Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports

The second Rutgers home gymnastics meet of the 2019 season takes place today at 3:00 pm against Maryland at the RAC. Free admission and parking to all home gymnastics meets this season (and some other sports) through “R Dollar, Your Game”.

Last week

The Rutgers Gymnastics team could not maintain the form they showed in a near upset of #5 Nebraska two weeks ago and fell at Iowa. Michelle Amoresano and Belle Huang both competed in the all-around, with Huang’s tally of 38.600 good for first place.

Rutgers continued their winning ways on the vault, coming out victorious for the third time in four weeks this year. Kaitlyn Hall led the way again with a first place finish in the event by virtue of a 9.750. The Scarlet Knights’ next best event was bars although some tight scoring by judges dinged them a few times. Shannon Farrell seems to be settling into mid-season form with another 9.700 that led the squad.

On the floor Huang and Amoresano both managed 9.750, but the team as a whole had their worst output of the season with just a 47.750. The balance beam also saw RU not put up the totals they were accustomed to the previous two weeks, not a single gymnast even tied her season high in the event.

What to expect

As Coach Salim-Beasley mentioned earlier in the season, lineups are still set on a weekly basis per performance in practice leading up to a meet. That said the lineups have stabilized with most of the team getting more consistent week over week. Riahanah Ali has been a model of consistency specifically as she has averaged over a 9.625 or better in each of her three events (vault, bars, and floor). Kaitlyn Hall has also really battled to get back into the lineup, participating in three events in every meet this season (vault, bars, and beam).

The freshmen have been making contributions as well and should continue to do so. Mia Betancourt has proven to be a reliable performer, competing on vault, beam, and floor with only one real slip up (last week on floor). Kiera Doherty-Herwitz has competed on beam in every meet thus far as has Abigail Karolewski on bars. Sage Littlejohn (Fr.) and Emily Drauss (So.) also got into the first meets of their careers already this season.

Salim-Beasley is happy to have back to back home meets after the team was hindered by the inopportune timing of the Arctic conditions across the Midwest, “We spent very long days traveling to and from Iowa with our flight delays, so it was definitely draining on them, but for them to be able to be at home really there’s no stress of thinking about what the environment’s going to be.” She has been pleased with the resiliency of the squad thus far, the tight scoring last week at Iowa being a recent example, “Of course, they were disappointed that the scores didn’t reflect that, but I think that they stayed strong and they didn’t let the low scoring affect their performance throughout the meet.” Hopefully the environment at the RAC can fuel the Scarlet Knights to a home victory.

Today marks the annual Pink Meet in support of breast cancer awareness. The first 500 fans receive a pink headband. Wear your own pink to show support for the cause!

Farrell talked about her focus on handstands and sticks during a short interview with RVision:

Opponent

Maryland enters the meet averaging a 194.108 team score through three meets. They have defeated Cortland, West Chester, and Pennsylvania, but fell short against Illinois and Michigan. In the meet against Michigan last week they performed best as a team with a a 48.700 on bars.

Maryland was just 1-9 in Big Ten competition in 2017 but jumped to 6-4 in 2018, an impressive turnaround. One of the biggest reasons is sophomore Audrey Barber who was 1st team All Big Ten as a freshman last season. She scored a 39.125 in the all-around last week.

The Terrapins have two New Jersey natives on their roster. Alexsis Rubio is a freshman from Berlin, NJ. She tallied a 9.675 in Vault last week against Michigan. Emma Johnson is a Junior who hails from Wyckoff, NJ. Johnson was Academic All-Big Ten last year and competed on vault eleven times and floor five times, earning 9.800 or better three times. Last week she scored a 9.650 on vault.

Good luck RU!

Next up

The women host #22 Penn State at the RAC next Saturday at 7 pm.