The GW gymnastics team won the Atlantic 10 championship Saturday, qualifying for the NCAA regional competition April 6 at Penn State. This is the fifth-straight A-10 title for the Colonials and their third-straight trip to Regionals, where they could qualify for a first-ever appearance in the national competition.
If the Colonials performance at A-10s is any indication of how they will perform at Regionals, their goal of advancing seems well within reach. GW’s 196.375 was the highest team score in school history, earning a first place finish and a new A-10 Championship record. Massachusetts placed second (195.0), followed by Rhode Island (192.325) and Temple (192.275).
Devin McCalla, the Atlantic 10’s 2002 Performer of the Year, set two school records at the championship in all-around (39.675) and a perfect beam performance. McCalla also took first on the vault (9.875). The all-around and beam records McCalla broke were her own from the previous year’s competition.
With regional competition around the corner, McCalla said her team is peaking at a perfect time.
“After the last two meets and A-10s, we feel really good, and we’ve got to go into this meet confident,” she said referring to the teams performance against Michigan State and Kent State universities. “We have to remember that on any given day any team can win one of the top two spots in the region.”
GW must win one of those top two spots in the Northeast region if it wants to advance to Nationals. That is no easy task for the Colonials, who are ranked 26th in the nation, because the region includes three teams from the top 25 in the nation.
The region is comprised of No. 5 University of Michigan, No. 8 University of Nebraska and No. 16 Iowa State in addition to Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh.
Last year GW finished fourth in its region with a team score of 194.675. The University of Georgia took first (197.775), followed by the universities of Florida (196.650) and Maryland (195.850).
McCalla said senior co-captain Jessica Mantak, who placed second in the all-around (39.400) and first on floor exercise (9.925) at the A-10s, will also be a key factor in the team’s success at regionals.