The GW women’s gymnastics team kicked off the season at the Smith Center Sunday afternoon, placing second in the seven-team GW Invitational. The Colonials lost to North Carolina State University 192.350-191.900. The College of William & Mary placed third, with the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Cornell and Radford universities finishing out the competition. GW’s score was the school’s best ever for an opening meet.
“I think the competition was fair, but we really should have won it,” junior Devin McCalla said. “There are some details that we will need to concentrate on. We need to get going sooner when we start the events. The first couple of attempts were kind of iffy.”
McCalla earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors after finishing first in the all-around competition with a score of 39.00. She won the balance-beam event with a score of 9.90 and ranked among the top five performers in each event.
Senior co-captain Darden Wilee placed second in the all-around with a score of 38.95. Wilee’s near-perfection on the uneven bars earned her the top score in the event (9.90).
“I am very fortunate to have this team this year,” GW coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said. “They put together a mission statement and they are very focused and very ready. Some years you don’t have good leaders, but we have very good leadership.
In her first college performance, freshman Rachel Mann earned the top score in the floor exercise with a solid 9.850. Mann was named A-10 Rookie of the Week.
“You love to see freshman come in and impact,” Foster-Cunningham said. “I knew she had the ability to do it. Rachel is not a diamond in the ruff, she is a seasoned competitor.”
The team next travels to the University of Kentucky for a Feb. 2 meet against the host Wildcats and the University of Georgia.
“This will be an awesome meet,” McCalla said. “Both teams are nationally ranked. I think this is the best group of girls GW has ever had. We are really serious about what we want to do and where we want to go.”