Among the keys to Maryland gymnastic’s strong start to the season include its performance on the beam. The Terps ranked No. 8 in the country after their season opener and continued that success in its Big Ten opener Friday against Rutgers.
Brett Nelligan’s team, performing at the Xfinity Center on a snowy day, took down the Scarlet Knights 196.450-195.550. Maryland notched a 49.150 on beam behind strong performances like Josephine Kogler’s.
Kogler notched a 9.875 after executing a double-back handspring back layout, a switch and split leap and a solid dismount. She was closely matched by freshman Natalie Martin, whose graceful side aerial led to a quick and powerful double switch leap that landed with control. Martin earned a 9.850.
Victoria Gatzendorfer and Maddie Komoroski both scored 9.825 while Emma Silberman earned a 9.775.
“They just work day in and day out,” Nelligan said about his beam unit. “That’s one thing we asked them to do this year is: Just let all the work that you do in the gym, let it show on meet day … they’re really clicked in.”
The Terps began the evening on the vault. Josephine Kogler earned a 9.800, following a nearly perfect landing off the vault table. Kogler soared high before twisting into a Yurchenko full and watched her feet as they found the mat to improve her 9.775 from Maryland’s opener.
Silberman notched a 9.825 and Alexa Rothenbuescher added a 9.775 to the Terps’ total. Martin followed up her score from Friday with another 9.850, Maryland’s highest vault score and the second-highest in the competition.
Nelligan was impressed with Martin’s consistency over her first two meets.
“Gosh, she’s having fun out there,” he said. “And we’re having fun with her. I thought she did a great job tonight and especially on floor. Tonight was really the first night that she’s really been tested.”
The Terps took a slim lead with a 49.000, just ahead of the Scarlet Knights’ 48.750.
After the first rotation, Maryland headed to the bars, where Rhea LeBlanc shined. She started with a high-flying straddle Jaeger and swung gracefully to the low bar. Leblanc then transitioned back up to the high bar, configuring herself into a handstand before nearly sticking the landing. She earned a 9.850, the team’s highest score in the rotation.
Silberman posted a 9.825 after sticking the landing on a double layout dismount. The graduate student averaged 9.759 on the uneven bars in 2023. Sierra Kondo contributed a 9.800 and Gatzendorfer tallied a 9.775 as the Terps posted a 48.975. That helped Maryland lead Rutgers after two rotations.
Maryland’s beam performance kept it ahead and set the stage for its floor unit.
Alexa Rothenbuescher led Maryland’s final group with a powerful performance. She opened with a whip to double back tuck and stuck a perfect landing. Rothenbuescher ended the routine with a double back pike. She ended the meet with the Terps’ highest score of the competition, a 9.925, matching her floor score from Friday.
The Terps finished the final rotation with a 49.325, short of Friday’s mark but good enough to secure a conference victory.
Maryland takes on Minnesota next week in its first away competition of the year. Nelligan is looking forward to it.
“I’m excited to see that road test and how we handle it,” he said. “I thought we did a lot of things tonight that are going to help us out on the road by being tested and having to battle through a few things.”