Rutgers Gymnastics Hannah Joyner at Super 16
Photo courtesy Ali Gradischer/College Gym News

Joyner, Leese Lead Rutgers Gymnastics in Sin City

Las Vegas, Nev. - Big Ten Gymnast to Watch, Hannah Joyner, and Emily Leese led the Rutgers Scarlet Knights gymnastics team in session two of the Super 16 Collegiate Challenge in Las Vegas Friday evening.  The Knights finished in fourth place with a 194.700 in a session that included No. 14 Oregon State, No. 17 Stanford, and No. 20 Georgia.

Joyner was the top all-around finisher for Rutgers, posting a 39.050 to finish in fourth place.  Joyner was followed by teammate Ella Aird, who scored a 38.975 to tie for fifth in the all-around.

Rutgers began the night on the floor exercise where they posted their top event score of the evening with a 49.150.  Leese and Aird led the Knights in the event with identical 9.9's, good enough for a tie for third.  Joyner also contributed a top-5 performance on floor adding a 9.875, which was good enough to tie for fifth place.

The Scarlet Knights continued their strong performance on the the vault where they finished with a team score of 48.800.  Leese and Aird led Rutgers on the vault, scoring the Knights' only two top-10 performances on the apparatus.  Aird scored a 9.8 which was good enough for a tie for seventh.  It was Leese, who very nearly stuck her landing, that stole the show on vault for the Scarlet Knights.  Leese's vault garnered a 9.875 from the judges, good enough for a tie for second place on the event with Oregon State's, and 2020 Olympic gold medalist, Jade Carey.

Two less than optimal leadoff routines on the uneven bars and balance beam put Rutgers in the tough position of having to hit their final five routines on each event.  While Avery Balser (9.825) and Stephanie Zannella (9.85) were able to crack the 9.8 mark on bars and beam respectively, the Scarlet Knights were unable to keep up with the rest of the field over the final two events.

Stanford won the team race in session two with a 196.175 and the Cardinal's Chloe Widner took the session two all-around crown with a 39.525.

Of Note

  • The Fisk University gymnastics team made their debut at the Super 16 Collegiate Challenge in session one.  Fisk is the first historically black college or university (HBCU) to field an NCAA gymnastics team.  The Bulldogs finished in fourth place in their session, scoring a 186.700.  Fisk will visit the "Banks of the Raritan" as part of a quad meet on February 3.
  • Three 2020 American Olympians participated on teams in the Super 16 field.  2020 floor gold medalist and team silver medalist, Jade Carey competed for Oregon State in the second session, while 2020 all-around gold medalist, team silver medalist, and bars bronze medalist, Sunisa Lee competed for Auburn and 2020 team silver medalist, Jordan Chiles competed for UCLA in the final session.  Lee had the best showing of the three Olympians, scoring a perfect ten on the beam and posting the top all-around score of all the sessions with a 39.750.  Chiles tied for the second best all-around score of the entire meet with a 39.650 and tied for first on the uneven bars in the final session with a 9.975.  Carey placed second in the all-around in session two with a 39.325 and tied for second on the vault in session two with a 9.875.
  • The defending NCAA champion, Oklahoma Sooners, had the best team score out of all the sessions with a 197.925.

Next Up

Rutgers will be at home for their second meet of the season when they welcome Ball State, Towson, and Wisconsin-Oshkosh to Jersey Mike's Arena on January 14.

Christopher Shannon