On Saturday, for the first time in her college career, Alexa Rothenbuescher stepped up to the uneven bars. She mounted the high bar in Maryland gymnastics’ loss to Minnesota before flipping into a straddle Jaeger and shooting down to the low bar. Rothenbuescher then jumped back up to the high bar and executed a near-perfect handstand.

She finished her routine with a difficult full twisting double back dismount and earned a 9.675, the Terps’ third-highest score of the event. She impressed coach Brett Nelligan with her first showing in the event.

“This is just the starting point for her,” Nelligan said. “She’s gonna stay in the bar lineup and she’s gonna get better and better every week as she gets more comfortable in the competition lineup.”

Rothenbuescher performed well on bars and maintained her strong reputation in her familiar events.

The senior competed in both floor and vault in eight straight competitions last year before an ankle injury sidelined her.

[No. 21 Maryland gymnastics drops first meet of the season, loses 196.725-195.600 to Minnesota]

Nelligan swapped Rothenbuescher into the bars lineup for Hailey Merchant, who competed on bars in Maryland’s first two meets but failed to score above a 9.425.

Rothenbuescher led the Terps’ floor unit in 2023, averaging 9.866. On Saturday, she performed a whip, which resembles a back handspring but with no hands, to a double back tuck in her opening pass. The senior transitioned into a dance element and a front tuck, followed by a back-to-back switch side leap and half side leap.

She finished her routine soaring into a double back pike and earned a 9.875, Maryland’s top floor finish of the evening.

Rothenbuescher has been competing on floor since her sophomore year but only began taking part in the Terps’ vault unit last season.

Nelligan’s vault unit on Saturday consisted of gymnasts who competed a Yurchenko full, common in collegiate gymnastics. Gymnasts start the skill by running down the vault runway and display a roundoff before bouncing onto the springboard.

[Maryland gymnastics turned its weakness on beam into its biggest strength]

The gymnast completes a Yurchenko full by flipping into a back handspring onto the vault table and moving into a full back twist in the air before landing on the mat.

But Rothenbuescher executed a Tsuk full, a rare vault among NCAA gymnasts. She sprinted down the runway and — rather than using a back handspring onto the vault table — jumped straight on the springboard and placed her hands sideways facing the left side of the table.

She then warped into a full twist in the air, similar to the formation of a Yurchenko full, and landed with a slight step. Rothenbuescher, who also competed a Tsuk full last season, earned a 9.750.

The Tsuk full raises Rothenbuescher’s starting maximum score to 10.000, which is more than the 9.950 starting value in the Yurchenko full.