Written by: Megan Roche
For 21 year old Michelle Amoresano, her love for the sport of gymnastics has been a part of her life since the age of seven. While Amoresano started the sport late compared to many of her Rutgers Gymnastics teammates, the love still beats just as strong.
The Rutgers senior may call New Brunswick home for meets but was born and raised in Whippany. After graduating from Whippany Park High School in 2015, Amoresano knew she wanted to continue her gymnastics career. During her junior year at Whippany Park, Amoresano signed her National Letter of Intent to compete Division I gymnastics at Rutgers University.
“Once I committed, it took a big weight off my chest and I could really focus on my goals that I wanted to accomplish during my club career and prepare for college a little earlier than everyone else.” Amoresano said.
When Amoresano began gymnastics at the age of seven, she progressed rapidly through each individual level. She began her gymnastics career at Rettig’s Gymnastics Training Center before transferring to North Stars Gymnastics Academy in 2010.
“My parents and coaches realized it was time for me to switch gyms when my skill level was progressing so fast. I went through each level very fast and I made Junior Olympic Nationals four times. It came pretty naturally.” Amoresano said.
As she progressed at a high rate, mastering skill after skill, Amoresano had the opportunity to represent North Stars at the Junior Olympic Nationals four times. In 2010, she qualified for level nine eastern nationals, placed second in the entire state in the all around in 2012 and 2013. In 2014, Amoresano was the level 10 uneven bars state champion.
While at Rutgers, Amoresano is studying Journalism and Media Studies. Her biggest career goal? Become a sideline reporter for the NFL.
As she gets set to kick off her senior season with a meet in Cancun on Jan. 4, Amoresano has big goals for this year. She is currently training a double layout on floor and hopes to have it competition ready for her final season of gymnastics.
Amoresano has had many proud moments while attending Rutgers. In 2016, she was given the Hardest Worker Award and qualified to NCAA Regionals on vault. In 2018, she achieved the Hardest Worker Award again and was also given the Chrystal Chollet-Norton Award. The award is given out annually to the gymnast who works hard, maintains a positive attitude and has the ability to persevere and commit their all to being a student athlete.
“It means a lot that my team and the coaches have been so welcoming. Our team is very close and our team dynamic is supportive. We are always bonding with each other and our team culture is molding very well together.” Amoresano said.
College is not all parties and fun for Amoresano and the Scarlet Knights Gymnastics team however. Each morning, the team has either spin or lift training for an hour before they head to the gym from 10:00 to 1:00 PM every day to get in their reps on vault, bars, beam, and floor. Amoresano competes in the All Around, meaning she competes on all four events.
Throw in the rigor of classes and Amoresano stays quite busy.
“It’s definitely tough. I have study halls and I try to stay really productive. We don’t really get a lot of downtime so I try to stay on top of everything as it comes.” Amoresano said.
Rutgers will host four home meets this season. With one meet scheduled to take place at the Livingston Recreation Center and three meets scheduled to take place at the Rutgers Athletic Center, Amoresano cannot wait to kick off her final year of the sport she has loved for so long.
“I want to enjoy every moment because I know that I don’t have many opportunities left to enjoy this sport. I feel like I have 19 sisters that I can count on for anything. I know I’ll miss the daily challenge.” Amoresano said.
In her senior year, Amoresano’s teammates named her and seniors Riahanah Ali and Jenna Rizkalla as their team captains. Amoresano is hoping to lead her team to an NCAA Regionals Competition berth. Among other goals, Amoresano would like to either meet or beat all her career high scores.
“Everyday I wake up and I know that this opportunity is something I’m so thankful for. I will never give up. I know that there will be obstacles but, in the end, I’ve known it’s all going to be worth it.” Amoresano said.
Amoresano’s career highs include 9.875 on the vault, a 9.825 on the uneven bars, a 9.725 on the balance beam, a 9.800 on the floor exercise and a 38.800 in the all around competition. Before any meet, Amoresano has to have her hair in braids on top of her head, say a prayer and call Mom and Dad before she salutes the judges.
Rutgers Gymnastics is part of the BIG 10 conference and will face off against the likes of Penn State, University of Michigan, Ohio State, and many more. Last season, the Scarlet Knights got their solo win of the season on senior night. With a new head coach regime in charge this season, Amoresano is excited to see what coach Umme Salim-Beasley can do.
“I can’t wait to start my season on a high note. Her standards are a lot higher than what I had for the last three years. I like the way that she’s working with us and with the team. I feel so much more prepared already.” Amoresano said.
As Amoresano prepares to say goodbye to the sport she’s loved for years, she reminisced about the little girl who fell in love with the sport and never looked back.
“Gymnastics is not like many other sports. It’s mentally challenging and it takes a toll on your body, but I think after I’m finished with gymnastics, I’ll be able to walk into life with more confidence.” Amoresano said.
Rutgers Gymnastics home meets are scheduled for Jan. 19 against University of Nebraska. The team will have back to back weekend meets on Feb. 2 against University of Maryland and Feb. 9 against Penn State University. The final home meet is scheduled for March 8 against University of Bridgeport, Centenary College, and Towson University.