McCalla, Wilee make regional competition

Anyone who has followed this year’s GW gymnastics team knows freshman Devin McCalla is having an incredible season.

McCalla is this year’s Atlantic 10 Most Outstanding Rookie Performer. Her average scores placed her second individually in a region, which includes NCAA playoff-bound University of Maryland and Massachusetts, a tough team in recent years.

McCalla also was named to the A-10 All-Conference Team, was a six-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, and holds the top all-around score (39.300 out of a possible 40 points) in University history.

The list goes on. McCalla holds the second-highest scores on the Colonial women’s all-time performance list on the uneven bars (9.925) and the balance beam (9.925). Her 9.900 on the floor exercise places her third on the GW record list.

McCalla and her incredible numbers, along with last year’s A-10 Most Outstanding Rookie Performer, sophomore Darden Wilee, will represent the Colonial women in this weekend’s NCAA Regional Championships.

“Winning Rookie of the Year was really good because it was one of my goals going into the season,” McCalla said. “As soon as I heard that Darden won it last year, it was only an extra-added incentive.”

Wilee finished the season on a fantastic upswing, placing second in the A-10 Championships all-around with a career-high score of 39.200. Wilee had her season-high score of 9.800 on the vault at A-10s.

McCalla talked about how what she refers to as the “Freshman 5” – her and four other talented rookies on the team – also began to build a solid fan base at the Smith Center last season.

“Lots of people still don’t even know there is a gymnastics team here at GW,” McCalla said. “It’s all about the `Freshman 5′ bringing in the crowds. By our last home meet, we had a pretty good crowd. Hopefully that will continue into next year.”

McCalla said it was difficult for the team to live up to its own expectations, especially when the new faces hadn’t had time to gel. The team failed to make the NCAA Regionals for just the second time in nine years despite some of the best scores in school history.

Next year the nucleus of the team will be virtually the same – there is only one graduating senior this year, captain Meena Lakdawala. Could this year be a preview for what’s to come?

“Winning A-10s was the best athletic moment of my life,” McCalla said.

With any luck, McCalla will have a better moment to replace it with in coming years.

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