Editor’s Note: I’m late on covering this news, but felt it was notable and couldn’t let it go unnoticed.
Rutgers freshman Hannah Joyner earned the program’s first ever All-Big Ten First Team selection earlier this month after a standout debut campaign. In addition, senior Kaitlyn Hall earned Second Team honors, making it the first time two Scarlet Knights were All-Big Ten selections in the same season since joining the league in 2014.
Joyner finished this season ranked 19th in the nation on the beam and 24th in the country in the all-around. In addition, she finished second in the beam and third in the all-around in the North East Region. Joyner tied the program record on the beam with a score of 9.925 and exceeded a score of 9.9 in seven different meets this past season. Her performance in the all-around against no. 15 Auburn, producing a 39.25 score, helped Rutgers earn it’s highest ranked victory in program history. It was also the highest score all-time that RU has ever produced in a road meet.
Hall shined on the vault this season, setting a career high of 9.875 three individual times and won the event title in four different meets. She led Rutgers to a program best performance on the vault at the Big Five meet. Hall finished ranked fifth in the North East Region with a average score of 9.855. In addition, she was a team captain, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten recipient, and was named the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree for Rutgers this past season.
The gymnastics team has shown solid improvement over the past two seasons since head coach Umme Salim-Beasley took over the program. Joyner gives the Scarlet Knights a true star in the Big Ten and is a key contributor in Salim-Beasley’s rebuilding of the program, along with sophomore Belle Huang. While postseason meets were cancelled due to COVID-19, Rutgers was in position to send four qualifiers to the NCAA’s in multiple events and possibly qualify for the postseason as a team as well. While Hall’s departure due to graduation leaves a big spot to fill, there is a lot of talented underclassmen set to return next season. After achieving several firsts in program history this past season, it’s clear Rutgers gymnastics is on the rise under Salim-Beasley.