Rutgers gymnastics has made significant progress under head coach Umme Salim-Beasley and she recently was recognized by a national publication for her work in elevating the program. College Gym News recently published head coach rankings for the four major conferences in collegiate gymnastics with four groups based on length of tenure. She was ranked the top coach in the group consisting of one to four seasons that included an explanation of “Umme Salim-Beasley stands out in this group for showing the greatest improvement by every metric.”
Each season the program has taken a step forward under Salim-Beasley with this past season showing the most improvement as a team during her four year tenure.
The Scarlet Knights either set or reset five of the top ten team scores in program history this past winter. Salim-Beasley’s squad produced the highest score in program history of 196.400 in the last meet of the regular season, breaking the old record set in 2014. RU also scored their highest total ever at the Big Ten Championship in March since joining the conference eight years ago. Rutgers earned the program’s first national ranking since 2014 when they were ranked No. 24 in late February. This past season, the team reset the program record on the vault while posting the second highest team score on the floor and third highest on the beam.
Salim-Beasley served as an assistant at Rutgers from 2012-2016 before leading Temple in her first head coaching job. After achieving unprecedented success for the Owls, athletic director Pat Hobbs hired her to take over the program in May 2018. Rutgers gymnastics has been on the rise ever since and is well positioned for the future with almost the entire roster eligible to return next season.
Despite two-time First Team All-Big Ten gymnast Belle Huang having graduated, fellow First Team selection Hannah Joyner is set to return. The junior qualified for the NCAA Regionals along with Huang and sophomore standout Emily Leese. Senior Mia Betancourt could potentially return while juniors Jordyn Zieden-Weber and Kaitlyn Bertola were solid contributors. In addition, several other gymnasts with multiple years of eligibility remaining made significant contributions this past season. They include freshmen Mya Pringle, Isabella Hughes, Jackie Manifold, Brayden Battavio and Anna Pagliaro along with sophomores Avery Balser, Calah Newman, Emily Wood and Stephanie Zannella. There is more talent on the roster that can take a step forward next season as well.
Many Rutgers programs are either achieving notable success or making significant strides. Gymnastics is quietly building a strong foundation and it’s nice to see the program receive national attention for it. The Scarlet Knights have the potential to build off of this recent success and produce its best season under Salim-Beasley next winter.
Having @ubeasley1 at #1 tracks for me. I've covered her a few times and she's been really kind in press calls, thinks very strategically about training/lineups, and gives her athletes a lot of ownership. My guess is @RUGymnastics will keep climbing #NCAAGym rankings. https://t.co/rsruS7KDeF— Christina Chauvenet (she/her) (@CaChauvenet) June 3, 2022