Gymnasts exercise late comeback

The GW gymnastics team, led by senior Devin McCalla, opened the 2002 season with a thrilling come-from-behind victory to win the GW Invitational.

The Colonials were in third place heading into the final rotation when they posted their highest score of the meet on the floor exercise to win the six-team competition.

McCalla (9.875), Lindsay Parks (9.825) and Jessica Mantak (9.825) posted big scores in team’s strongest event, allowing the Colonials to get ahead of the University of North Carolina and the College of William and Mary, for the 191.600 win.

“We took control of what we could,” head coach Mary Foster-Cunningham said. “We did not worry about what the other teams were doing. Our focus definitely pulled us through.”

Second-place UNC scored a 191.275, William and Mary placed third with a 190.450.

McCalla scored a 38.9 to win the all-around competition for the second straight year, edging out UNC’s Monica Middleton (38.825) and Colonials teammate Mantak (38.575). McCalla said she believed the meet was a key step in setting the tone for the rest of the season.

“We just did what we had to do,” she said. “Like (head coach Margie Foster Cunningham) always reminds us, ‘It’s not over till its over.’ This meet just proves that.”

The solid debut from the freshman class complimented the success of the veterans in GW’s first meet of the season. The Colonials are coming off a very successful 2001, in which they placed 17th in the nation, according to troester.com. That ranking came after the Colonials top-four finish in last year’s NCAA Southeast Regional tournament.

Saturday afternoon, newcomers Amber Melvin scored a 9.525 on the vault and Stefanie Tocco impressed with a 9.725 on the uneven bars.

“I really have such good leadership,” Foster-Cunningham said. “Yes a lot of our mistakes were freshman-like mistakes. But they’ll be ready for meet this Friday. You’ll see a better team then.”

Following the meet, the GW Athletic Department honored members of the gymnastics team from 1998-2001 who won Atlantic 10 Championship titles.

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