The Rutgers Gymnastics team had their fifth meet of the season, second at home, as the Maryland Terrapins came to town. If anyone was betting on this matchup it would have been a pick ‘em and fans got more than the price of admission, as the meet came to down to the final two gymnasts for the visitors yet again. Here’s how it went down at the Pink out meet:
We R Ready‼️ R U⁉️ First up ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/zkgpsaBixy— Rutgers Gymnastics (@RUGymnastics) February 2, 2019
Rutgers started the evening in the vault with the same lineup that has competed all season due to their consistency in practice. Rutgers was very solid across the board as the scores ranged from a low of 9.675 for Toni Williams just below the 9.700s for Riahanah Ali and Mia Betancourt that counted on the scoresheet to Michelle Amoresano (9.725), Belle Huang (9.750), and Kaitlyn Hall (9.775). Maryland was simply spectacular as they had the top three scorers in the event. In the social media era, you can re-watch all the vaults on the Rutgers gymnastics twitter feed.
Coach Rosso had to be pleased with the bounce back performance, as the team turned in their second best performance of the season (48.650). Unfortunately Maryland just lit it up on bars in parallel ... (gymnastics pun). Michelle Amoresano tied her season best and in the exhibition Sophia Atienza returned to the lineup after being a regular contributor last year. At this point the majority of area for improvement late in the season will be reducing minor mistakes and as always on vault, sticking more landings. Otherwise, look for more of the same.
Swinging our way to bars next‼️ pic.twitter.com/3nZJAvmpGB— Rutgers Gymnastics (@RUGymnastics) February 2, 2019
Shannon Farrell (season best 9.875) did enough to tie for the win in the event with Maryland star Audrey Barber, and the next best finish for the Scarlet Knights was Belle Huang (9.750), by far the sophomore’s best performance of the season. Unfortunately for Rutgers that only tied for 5th on the day in the event although Amoresano, Ali, and Hall were slightly above their season averages. Abigail Karolewski was the only gymnast below her average, although she did improve from a week ago.
Rutgers almost reached the form they showed two weeks ago so Coach Salim-Beasley will be happy to have seen continued progress on the bars, even though it remains the team’s weakest event overall. It will be interesting to see if different routines are utilized, but with five gymnasts tallying above their season averages the trend is definitely still up as they almost equalled the season best as a squad. Another wildcard was a nice 9.700 exhibition by Emily Drauss and what I believe was the first season appearance for Emma Karas in the second exhibition.
The Scarlet Knights got a breakout performance from freshman Kiera Doherty-Herwitz who shattered her previous career high with a 9.825, placing all alone in first overall. RU occupied the top four spots in the event on the day with Huang (9.800), Betancourt (career-best 9.750), and Amoresano (season-best 9.725). Hall’s 9.675 (season best) was the final score that counted, so Rutgers won the event easily as a team.
Assistant coach Anastasia Halbig had to smile after the team’s best performance on beam of the year, by a lot. The team score, plus four season bests, and even what appears to be the first routine all season from Chloe DeVries were positives. Can they keep it up?
Ending this meet with a PARTY‼️ pic.twitter.com/2cQmFtaB8t— Rutgers Gymnastics (@RUGymnastics) February 2, 2019
The Scarlet Knights closed the day on the floor exercise and could not match the Terps. Jenna Rizkalla tied for third place with a 9.775 while Ali and Betancourt earned 9.750s. Toni Williams was above her average with a 9.700 and a 9.675 would only be considered a disappointment for Belle Huang who averages a 9.790. Amoresano did not have her best after she was flagged for being out of bounds which resulted in a 2/10 of a point deduction.
Rutgers could not quite match their score from the Nebraska meet, but still turned in their second best performance of the year, the 3rd event in which they did so. Floor is the team’s second best event, even though they did post their highest individual score in any event on floor two weeks ago. Abigail Karolewski’s middle pass needs a little tuning as she did the exhibition for those keeping track. This is definitely an event where consistency is crucial.
Rutgers had to feel good after their vaults, but still found themselves down heading into the second rotation because Maryland put up an awesome 48.925 on bars. Maryland then matched their score on the vault to put RU in an bigger hole halfway through the meet. The Terrapins again put up a 48.925 on the floor exercise, so despite Rutgers having a season high on balance beam, their deficit grew heading into the last rotation. Rutgers did make it interesting with their performance on floor and Maryland was a tick lower on beam than their other events, but Rutgers needed Maryland to have two people fall to pull out the victory. That did not happen and the Scarlet Knights remain winless in Big Ten play.
In gymnastics yes, some judges are tougher than others but you really are competing against yourself as much as the opponent. Rutgers had their best outing as a team of the season, so the coaches have to feel good about the improvement. Rutgers has been good at home, but they have a really tough matchup next week against the ranked Nittany Lions.
Coach Salim-Beasley mentioned two weeks ago that Rutgers has some higher scoring routines they are working on in practice, so maybe we see a few more of those now that the team was so solid across the board today.
The women host #22 Penn State at the RAC next Saturday at 7 pm.
Check out the highlights below: