By David F.P.
(Scores from Troester.)
Rutgers played host to EAGL opponent New Hampshire and Division 2 opponent Bridgeport in their season opener down in Piscataway January 5th. UNH would pick up the victory with a 191.475, Rutgers opened with a 183.45, and Bridgeport came in third with a 177.075.
For UNH, the lineup was mainly made up of veterans from the regional qualifying team of last year, but rookies Chelsea Steinberg and Katie Caliendo also debuted. On the vault, the entire team put up solid scores, but it would be Helena Diodati leading the way for the Wildcats with a 9.8, and Katelyn Schenkel right behind her with a 9.775, and Kelsey Alwin .05 behind with a 9.75. Diodati not only lead the team, but the meet with her score. Over on the uneven bars, it would be Diodati leading the team again, along with Kelsey Alwin when they both picked up 9.65s. This would also be good enough to top the other two teams performers as well. Diane Grey and Rebekah Porter had also competed on both events with good scores.
The beam would be the team’s relatively low scoring event, though Taryn LaFountain still lead the team, and the meet with a 9.7. Steinberg came in second on the team and in the meet with a 9.625. Keeley Smith and Justine Turner also put up solid scores. On the FX, Smith was the team leader with a 9.8 which was also good enough for top honors in the meet as well. Caliendo had her top score of the meet on this event with a 9.5, which was good for third on the team behind LaFountain’s 9.575, and just ahead of Fairen Plummer’s 9.525. Lindsay Kovary also picked up a solid score. Steinberg would also win the all around in her first meet with a 37.575.
Oftentimes, season opening meets can be rough regardless on which team is involved, and this would seem to be the case for Rutgers, a regional qualifying team and 190 averaging team last season. Since I am late in writing this I am aware that last weekend Rutgers rebounded which illustrates the point. For this meet, it would be Laura Sevarino leading the team in Vault with a 9.775, the highest team score on any event. Latara Northcutt had a 9.55, and Alyssa Lewandowski picked up the teams third highest score. Two rookies, Kiah Banfield, and Maddie Zwiebel debuted with the team’s 4th and 5th highest scores. On the Bars, which would be a tough rotation, Stephanie Pannick lead the team with a 9.45, with Kristy Behr and Tiffany Schramm picking up the teams second and third highest scores. On the Beam, Schramm had the team leading score of 9.325, with Sevarino second among Scarlet Knights. On Floor, it would be the rookie Zwiebel leading the way with a 9.5, trailed by Elizabeth Bohnsack and Sevarino. Rookie Leigh Heinbaugh also debuted on the event with her teams fourth highest score.
Bridgeport came into Piscataway with a large roster mixed with a ton of returnees, and a small army of new freshmen. Three of these rookies would debut in the all around as well. On the vault, Ravin Iasiello, who is listed as a sophomore but is making was in her first meet for Bridgeport, picked up a 9.5 to lead her team on Vault, with fellow rookies Lorraine Galow (9.4), Jamie DePaola (9.2), and Stephanie Morgan (9.05) behind her. Fellow Freshman all around Yvette Mirando also competed as did veteran contributor Kat Reitz. On the bars, veteran Brandi Embrey lead the team, followed by Mirando, second year gymnast Carissa Huggins, and rookies Morgan, Galow, and Hannah Forti.
Longtime Purple Knight Taylor Rut would lead the team on the Uneven Bars with a 9.3, with yet another Freshman Breanna Collins putting up a 9.25, and Galow third among the team with a9.15. Mirando, Morgan, and DePaola also debuted on this event. Iasiello also picked up the top team score on Floor with a 9.4, Galow was second with a 9.225, Huggins third, with Reitz, Morgan, and Mirando, also competing.
It will be interesting to see how all three of these teams evolve in the upcoming season.