The GW gymnastics team will try to “defend what is ours” when it competes at the Atlantic 10 Championships Saturday in Philadelphia, sophomore Lindsey Ferris said.
Winners of last year’s A-10 title and the No. 1 seed this year, the Colonial women and head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham are not ready to relinquish their title.
“We believe we’ll definitely win,” junior Erica Lewy said. “If we concentrate on doing what we have to do, we should be fine.”
It was especially important for the Colonial women to get the first seed. By doing so, GW starts its rotation on the vault, which is how the Colonial women began their home meets at the Smith Center all year. GW is followed by second-seeded Massachusetts, No. 3 Rhode Island and No. 4 Temple, the host of the meet.
GW comes into the championship with a point total of 193.281, which is its average over the entire season, not counting its highest and lowest score. GW’s total slightly edged out UMass, which finished the regular season with an average of 192.988. This should only further the rivalry between the two schools, as GW defeated UMass for its first-ever A-10 championship last year, while UMass defeated GW the year before.
“I believe we’re a better team than UMass,” Foster-Cunningham said. “It should be a great competition between us, them, and Rhode Island, but we should come out on top.”
Beyond winning A-10s, the team’s goal is to improve on its highest score of the year – 194.350, sophomore Stephanie Goldsmith said.
“I believe we’re definitely up to the challenge,” Foster-Cunningham said.
In preparation for the postseason, the team also has put some new tricks into its repertoire, Lewy said. Both Devin McCalla and Jamie McNally have added new vaults, while Lewy is planning to perform a floor routine she has used only once this year.
While GW is the defending champion, freshmen have played integral roles in the team’s success this year. But Foster-Cunningham said she does not believe the freshmen’s lack of postseason experience will be a problem.
“We’ve been preparing our freshmen all year,” she said. “When the time comes, they’ll be ready.”