DURHAM, N.H. (March 22, 2014) – Competing at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships for the final time, Rutgers gymnastics achieved its best score (195.275) and finish (tied for third) in the program history in the conference meet Saturday at Whittemore Center Arena on the campus of the University of New Hampshire. The Scarlet Knights started with a 48.950 on floor exercise, followed a 48.350 on vault, a 48.875 on uneven bars and a 49.100 on balance beam. RU hit all 24 routines in the meet.
New Hampshire won the title at 196.375 as the hosts, with Maryland finishing in second at 195.700. Rutgers and NC State tied for third at 195.275, while George Washington (194.650), Pittsburgh (194.175), North Carolina (194.150) and Towson (193.375) rounded out the field.
“I am very proud of how the team performed today,” EAGL Coach of the Year Louis Levine said. “The team showed confidence from the start and hit routine after routine to end up with our best showing ever at the EAGL Championships. I thought our finish on beam especially stood out.”
Following a bye in the first rotation, RU started off the meet on floor exercise. Sophomore Danielle Verdon (Freehold, N.J.) (career-high) and freshman Claire Jones (Gaffney, S.C.) both had a 9.825 to lead the Scarlet Knights, with freshman Charly Santagado (Celebration, Fla.) following closely behind at 9.800 in her first conference meet. In addition, junior Sara Skammer (Dallas, Pa.) (9.775) and senior Alexis Gunzelman (Tabernacle, N.J.) (9.725) cleared 9.700 to bring the team mark to 48.950 after one event.
Gunzelman paced RU on vault with a 9.725, as redshirt junior Luisa Leal (Cali, Colombia) tallied a 9.700. All six competitor ended up sticking their routine to total a 48.350.
Moving to the uneven bars, junior Tasia Halbig (Schwenksville, Pa.) (career-high) and Gunzelman both swung their way to a team-best 9.825. Skammer also set a career-best score at 9.800, as she has been a part of the bars lineup all season. Leal brought in a 9.750 to help the Scarlet Knights pick up a 48.875.
The Scarlet Knights saved their best event for last with a 49.100 on balance beam, the second highest mark in the meet. Both Gunzelman and Jones tied for fourth out of 47 competitors with a 9.850 mark. Senior Alyssa Straub (Nazareth, Pa.), sophomore Jenna Williams (Bordentown, N.J.) and sophomore Claudia Salinas (Allendale, N.J.) all collected a 9.800 in a consistent performance. Halbig also hit her routine at 9.750.
Gunzelman’s scores added up to 39.125 to place fourth out of 11 all-arounders competing in the meet. She was named EAGL Team MVP and picked up five first-team All-EAGL awards earlier in the week.
Rutgers will next find out its fate regarding the NCAA Regionals with the selection show slated for Monday at 3 p.m.