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Alexis Gunzelman and Rutgers Gymnastics: Tumbling Towards Greatness

by Sal Soothsayer | Posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
(Provided by Rutgers Athletics)

(Provided by Rutgers Athletics)

Rutgers Olympic sports have seen resurgence during the 2013-2014 seasons.  Teams and individuals have continued to surpass expectations and the most recent Rutgers’ Gymnastics team certainly fit that description.

Senior Alexis Gunzelman was one of the catalysts behind Rutgers’ success in gymnastics this past season.  The team’s accolades included a third place finish at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (the team was picked seventh in the pre-season poll) and a team trip to NCAA regionals.  Gunzelman capped off Rutgers successful season when she qualified for the NCAA championship as she became only the second woman in Rutgers gymnastics history to advance to that level.

Gunzelman said that one of the keys to the team’s success was team chemistry.

“We all got along so well, all wanted the same things and had the same goals from the beginning,” she said.

Alexis Gunzelman (Provided by Rutgers Athletics)

Alexis Gunzelman (Provided by Rutgers Athletics)

The team’s success was obvious as they exceeded expectations during the year.   The third place finish at EAGL got the team a trophy.

“It may not have been the one we wanted,” Gunzelman said, but, “we still shocked a lot of teams.”

Representing Rutgers at the NCAA Championship meant a lot to Gunzelman.

She conveyed, “This year I really focused on the team goal of making it to NCAA Regionals, and I think that all the extra training, helped me get to NCAA Nationals.”

Gunzelman also conveyed that keeping the focus on her team was critical to her individual success.

She said, “having my team at Regionals made it so much more relaxing and enjoyable of a competition [so much so] that Nationals wasn’t even on my mind.”

Although she is leaving the team, Gunzelman sees a lot of promise and potential for the future of Rutgers Gymnastics.

“I had no doubt in my mind that the Big Ten is where we belong,” said Gunzelman.  “Rutgers gymnastics is growing out of the EAGL Conference and we need opponents who can challenge us to get better every week.  That is how teams and individuals get better.”

Gunzelman finished by providing a bit of a behind the scenes scoop into the future of Rutgers’ Olympic sports that went beyond gymnastics.  She made it clear that, “training…has increased in intensity… and the recruiting throughout Rutgers is becoming more impressive.  [The coaches] focus on growing the program and finding kids who truly embody what a student-athlete is.  A lot of our freshmen in particular want to win.  This mind-frame drives them to practice hard every day so that their goals can be reached.”

 

For more Rutgers sports chatter, follow Sal Soothsayer on Twitter, @SalSoothsayer.

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