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Rutgers women's gymnastics begins season against Maryland, Illinois

The Rutgers women's gymnastics team looks to build upon record-breaking wins in 2020 when they begin their 2021 season on Saturday. – Photo by The Daily Targum

As the Spring 2021 semester begins, the Rutgers women’s gymnastics team is set to begin its season on Saturday with a dual meet against Illinois and Maryland. The Scarlet Knights will be competing for the first time since it posted a 5-0 record in the final weekend of the season, culminating in a win against its highest-ranked opponent in program history, No. 15 Auburn.

Rutgers looks to improve on a season where it has spent a lot of time rewriting the program's history books. The team registered its highest road score ever in the upset over the Tigers, also marking the program’s first win over a Southeastern Conference opponent. The Knights had other historic performances during the shortened season, posting three of the top 10 total team scores that the program has ever recorded. 

Rutgers has a pair of gymnasts that have been recognized by the conference, as sophomore Hannah Joyner and senior Belle Huang were both named Big Ten Gymnasts to Watch. 

Joyner looks to build off of a freshman season that saw her selected to the All-Big Ten First Team. She was able to tie the school record in the beam and also led the Knights in several events.

In addition to the many athletes that are returning to the program, head gymnastics coach Umme Salim-Beasley was able to add 12 new gymnasts to the roster, overseeing a recruiting class that was ranked 23rd in the nation. 

“We are thrilled to see that our 2021 recruiting class is ranked in the top 25 nationally,” said Salim-Beasley. “Not only are they talented, but they all possess a drive to make Rutgers gymnastics a powerhouse program. They want to win!” 

The season opener is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time and will be hosted at the Rutgers Athletic Center. The event will include one of three matchups for the Knights against Maryland and will be its only meeting with Illinois this season.

For updates on the Rutgers women's gymnastics team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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