After capturing its first ever Atlantic 10 title, the GW women’s gymnastics team is focusing its energy on the NCAA Regionals hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. this weekend.
Under the leadership of A-10 Coach of the Year Margie Foster-Cunningham, the Colonial women are looking for a repeat performance of their stellar A-10 meet.
“It was really exciting because our whole team finally put it together and we all hit,” freshman Stacie Evans said. “Everyone on the entire team contributed to the win.”
Evans was selected to the All-Conference Team and tied for first on the balance beam at the A-10s.
“We all stuck together and nobody gave up. We all basically did our parts,” senior Shari Doulman said. “It’s one of the greatest feelings for me ever at GW.”
Graduate assistant Lori Franklin said the team is going into regionals very confident and expects a strong showing.
“We want to keep our anxiety down and just go out there and do what we usually do. I have a good feeling that we’re in a good position,” Doulman said. “We’re just psyched to be going.”
The Colonial women have made it to regionals five out of the six past years, so it is nothing new for Foster-Cunningham, who is in her 13th year as head coach.
“We’re working on trying to get more consistent and cleaning up the little things in our routine,” said Evans.
GW is one of the top seven teams from its region to qualify for the regional meet. To make the cut, during the regular season two home scores, two away scores and two other scores are counted. The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the four middle scores are averaged.
Because there are five NCAA regions, when a team qualifies for regionals it is automatically in the top 35 in the nation. Each regional winner has an automatic bid to the NCAA championships, then seven other teams qualify.
This year the Colonial Women are seeded sixth at regionals behind the University of Georgia, the University of Florida, the University of Kentucky, North Carolina State University and West Virginia University. The University of Maryland qualified in seventh place. The region boasts some strong schools with Georgia and Florida being two of the top teams in the nation.
Darden Wilee, the A-10 Most Outstanding Rookie Performer and Alexis Hrynko, who was named to the All-Conference Team, will be a part of the all-around competition.
Sophomore Erica Lewy and freshman Stephanie Goldsmith are also expected to contribute on one of the most talented teams ever to compete at GW.
“We just want to all hit and do our best and show everyone that GW does have a good gymnastics team,” Evans said.
“You never know what could happen at regionals, we could hit,” Franklin said. “We’re good enough and have the talent to go even further.”