McCalla and Colonials take Atlantic 10 crown, qualify for regionals

DevinThe No. 26-ranked GW gymnastics team will compete in the NCAA Regional Championships Saturday at the Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., after winning its third consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship in record fashion March 18.

The team’s return to the NCAA Regional Championships marks GW’s eighth appearance in the last nine years. Last season, Devin McCalla and Darden Wilee qualified for regionals, with McCalla finishing eighth overall and Wilee finishing 10th in the all-around.

It’s been an incredible year, but it didn’t come from nowhere, McCalla said. We had a lot of goals set early in the year, and even with this being a big goal, we still want to go to Boise (the site of the NCAA Championship). That’s the main goal.

The Colonials set a new championship team record score of 195.675 in last week’s A-10s, held at Massachusetts’ Curry Hicks Cage to defeat second-place Rhode Island, which challenged GW with a score of 195.000. McCalla earned Most Outstanding Performer honors as the GW sophomore shined, setting an A-10 Championship record score with a 39.50 in the all-around. McCalla will lead the Colonials into the regionals as the No. 17 ranked gymnast in the nation.

McCalla placed first in the vault and uneven bars, scoring a 9.80 and 9.90, respectively. Senior Erica Lewy tied McCalla and two other gymnasts for second place in the floor exercise with a 9.95. GW’s Jessica Mantak and McCalla tied for second on the balance beam with a 9.85, placing behind Rhode Island’s Marissa Medal (9.875). Medal won the Most Outstanding Rookie award, while Rams head coach Charlie Connery edged GW’s Margie Foster-Cunningham for A-10 Coach of the Year honors. Foster-Cunningham won the coaching honor the previous two years.

GW’s regional qualifying score of 194.815 is higher than the team’s best score from all of last season. The Colonials’ high score in 1999 was their A-10 Championship score of 194.650.

GW will compete against host University of Georgia, Brigham Young University, North Carolina State University, Maryland and Towson University during the weekend. GW defeated Towson twice this season but has lost to Maryland and N.C. State. The Colonials will need to finish with one of the top two scores to move on to the NCAA Championships held in Boise, Idaho, beginning April 13.

-Tod Plotkin contributed to this report

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