Colonials win Towson invite

The GW gymnastics team won its third-straight Towson Invitational with a season-high 195.025, as the Colonials recovered after the season’s shaky start. Senior Jessica Mantak placed second behind Towson’s Kristen Presutti in the all-around competition with a 39.340 at the Towson Center Sunday.

Towson placed second behind GW with a 193.875 followed by Yale (190.000), the University of Pennsylvania (188.175) and Temple (185.925).

Mantak’s 9.825 tied for first on the balance beam, and her 9.75 tied for sixth on the vault. Mantak finished second on the bars (9.85) and fourth on the floor exercise (9.875).

Devin McCalla, last year’s all-around winner, won the bars with a 9.90 and tied for first on the floor with Towson’s Jenn Baierlein (9.925). McCalla placed fourth in the all-around with a 38.80

GW won because of strong performances on the bars and floor. The Colonial clinched the championship with their 49.15 team score on the bars, as four Colonials finished in the top seven. Sophomore Rachel Mann and senior Kelley Banks finished fifth and six on the floor.

GW coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said she was extremely pleased with how the team rebounded from poor performances earlier this season, in which GW finished third at West Virginia and last at UNC. The Colonials opened the season by winning the GW Invitational.

“I was very confident it would happen,” Foster-Cunningham said. “They’re really comfortable with the roles they are playing. This is just a beautiful thing.”

GW had won the previous two Towson Invites with Devin McCalla also winning the all-around in both. The Colonials won the Towson Invite for the first time in their history in 2000 and followed up on that performance by winning it again in 2001. When the Colonials won last year they set a meet record with a total score of 195.175.

This weekend the Colonials will take on Atlantic 10 rival University of Rhode Island. Earlier this month, GW struggled with its routines, but the team seems to be back on track after recent performances, which includes a strong effort in a loss to visiting Maryland last week. After a third place finish at the University of North Carolina (191.900), the team has dramatically improved its overall scores.

In the Maryland loss, Foster-Cunningham said it was the most consistent the team had performed all year. GW set season-highs on the uneven bars (48.975), floor exercise (49.075) and balance beam (48.650). The Colonials’ 194.875 was a season high for the team but would only last until the Towson Invite.

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