Recruit Files: Ruthuja Nataraj, Illinois

Name: Ruthuja Nataraj
Club: Connecticut Gymnastics Academy
High School Graduation Year: 2021

NCAA Team: Illinois
Commitment Announcement: Instagram
Social Handles: Twitter | Instagram 

Personal Bests 

Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Exercise
9.575 9.400 9.550 9.550

Videos 

Vault Uneven Bars Balance Beam Floor Exercise
2019 Region 6 Regionals 2019 Region 6 Regionals 2019 Connecticut State Meet 2019 Region 6 Regionals

About Ruthuja

Nataraj is the 2019 Connecticut state and Region 6 silver medalist in the all around. At the state meet she was also crowned balance beam champion and was second on the uneven bars. At regionals she won bronze on bars. In September 2019 Nataraj flew to India, her country of origin, to compete at the open trials, which served as qualification to the Stuttgart world championships. Due to a delay to the competition, however, she did not get her chance at the Indian elite world and, potentially, the Olympic Games.

What She Brings to Illinois

Vault

  • Skill: Yurchenko full
  • Results: first place at 2020 T.D.N.I. (career high)
  • Margin of Improvement: Nataraj performs an excellent vault. She pikes down slightly on landing, but she can stick it easily.
  • Impact on the Team: Illinois competed six solid yet not exceptional Yurchenkos full in 2020, with Shaylah Scott scoring a high of 9.900. Nataraj, with her precise vault, is expected to make a big impact here.

Uneven Bars

  • Skills: Maloney to bail to handstand, double layout dismount
  • Results: third place at the 2019 Region 6 regionals (career high)
  • Margin of Improvement: Nataraj has small leg separations on her Maloney—a new addition to her repertoire—and on her bail, but her routine is otherwise strong.
  • Impact on the Team: Nataraj’s routine is not deduction free, but she has one more year of club gymnastics to perfect it, and she could challenge for a lineup spot.

Balance Beam

  • Skills: BHS + LOSO, switch leap to straddle jump quarter, front aerial to leap jump to beat jump, side aerial, full turn, 1.5 twist dismount
  • Results: 2019 Connecticut state champion (career high)
  • Margin of Improvement: Nataraj can be at times a bit shaky on beam, but her routine is difficult and almost ready for college.
  • Impact on the Team: Nataraj is expected to contribute to the beam lineup, too. If she can keep her nerves at bay, she has the potential to score very high.

Floor Exercise

  • Skills: double pike, front layout to front full twist, double tuck
  • Results: tied fifth place at the 2019 Region 6 regionals
  • Margin of Improvement: Nataraj could work on her landings a bit more. Her routine is not the most difficult, but it could score high in college.
  • Impact on the Team: If she can polish her landings, Nataraj will be a strong contributor to the Illini’s floor lineup.

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Article by Talitha Ilacqua

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