The Rutgers gymnastics team is getting ready for an upcoming season by announcing the 12 newcomers who were added to the 2020-21 roster. The new class contains Junior Olympics (JO) National Qualifiers and State Champions.
Head gymnastics coach Umme Salim-Beasley said she’s “thrilled to welcome this incoming class of freshmen. Each gymnast has the ability to make a huge impact on our program. Every day they come in with a mission to be better than they were the day before.”
True freshman Avery Balser from Carroll, Ohio, is a two-time JO National Qualifier, a 2018 Regional Bar Champion and a 2018 Level 10 State Bar and All-Around Champion. Entering as an honor roll student, she’s studying to become an orthodontist.
True freshman Myra Daniels from Moorestown, New Jersey, has several honors to her name, as she was a USA Junior Olympics Gymnastics member from 2009-20, is a 2017 East Coast Classic Events Final — Uneven Bars Champion and 2019 JO National Qualifier — Level 10. She’s studying to become an artificial intelligence programmer.
Hailing from Tampa, Florida, true freshman Kylie Haffner is a three-time JO National Qualifier (2017-19) and two-time State and Regional Bar Champion (2017-18) and graduated from Sickles in the top three percent of her class. She’s studying to become a physician's assistant.
True freshman Rees Hagler from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is a four-year Level 10 gymnast, 2017 JO National Qualifier and graduated from Liberty High School as co-valedictorian. She is also a Science Olympiad State Qualifier.
True freshman Jordan Halcom from Raleigh, North Carolina, is a 2020 Level 10 State Qualifier, 2019 Level 9 State and Regional Champion, A/B high honor roll student and studying to pursue a career as a physical therapist.
True freshman Emily Leese from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is a three-time State All-Around Champion (2016-17, 2019), four-time Regional Qualifier and 2019 JO National Qualifier. She is also studying to become a physical therapist.
True freshman Calah Newman from Jacksonville, Florida, is a four-time Level 10 Florida State and Regional Qualifier, a 2016 Level 9 Eastern Nationals, Regionals and State Qualifier and has 13 registered event wins from 2016-20, including winning the beam title twice last season. She’s currently working toward a career as a pediatrician.
Coming from Calvert County, Maryland, true freshman Jaidyn Raby is an Eastern National Qualifier and also graduated as an honor roll student. She was a member of the Student Government Association.
True freshman Kieran Ross, a Reno, Nevada, native, is a Level 10 gymnast who graduated as a member of the National Honor Society. She chose the Knights because she “liked the energy of the gymnastics team” and for “the top-notch business program” as well.
True freshman Christiana Thompson from Clementon, New Jersey, is a four-time Regional Qualifier, 2015 Level 10 Regional Vault Champion, Level 10 JO National Qualifier and member of the National Honor Society. She’s studying to become a public relations representative for professional athletes.
True freshman Emily Wood comes from Kingsland, Georgia, as a 2019 Florida State floor champion and five-time regional qualifier (2014-16, 2018-19). She is studying in the field of psychology.
True freshman Stephanie Zannella comes from Belle Mead, New Jersey, and has achieved various honors such as 2019 Level 10 JO National Qualifier and 2017 Level 9 Regional Vault, Beam and All-Around Champion. She was a member of the USA Gymnastics Club Gymnastics from 2008-20. She’s pursuing a career in becoming a dentist or orthodontist.
“The energy and determination this group of freshmen have will fuel our team,” Salim-Beasley said. “They are ready and are up for the challenge of rewriting a new history for Rutgers Gymnastics.”
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