A-10 title not enough for regional bid

The GW gymnastics team won its sixth straight Atlantic 10 title Saturday in Philadelphia but the score was not enough to give the team a bid to next weekend’s NCAA Regional Championship in Athens, Ga.

Junior Rachel Mann was named an all-around competitor and junior Lindsay Parks and freshman Tiffany Jones were named alternates to the vault and uneven bar individual events, respectively, but the team missed the cut for the first time since 1999.

“It’s kind of upsetting, but at same time we ended season really well,” Parks said. “We started slow but by the end of the year we were doing our best, so there isn’t anything we can do. Hopefully next year we can start out the way we ended this year.”

In what turned out to be their final meet of the season Saturday, the Colonials finished with a score of 193.975, beating out Temple (190.900) and Rhode Island (189.400). GW dominated at almost every stage, placing first in all events except for the uneven bars.

Before Regional selections were announced Monday, head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said her team was aware that winning the A-10 would still leave GW’s regional bid up in the air.

“We are in the toughest region, and we know it’s very difficult to get a bid,” she said. “Although winning your conference is certainly a fabulous accomplishment for any school, it does not guarantee us anything.”

Freshman Heather Kaufman led the Colonials in the conference championship with her wins on the vault (9.900) and beam (9.675), as well as the all-around title (38.700).

Mann placed second after Kaufman in the all-around with a score of 38.325 and a win on the floor exercise. Parks placed second to Kaufman on the beam (9.675) and Mann on the floor exercise (9.800).

Foster-Cunningham said she was happy her team was not overconfident going into the meet given her team’s improved performances late in the season.

“There is a sort of confidence but there is still a need to compete,” she said. “We still had to perform. The girls went 23-24 in the events. They definitely performed.”

After what Foster-Cunningham dubbed “a rebuilding year” at the beginning of the season, the Colonials will return a more experienced squad next year, as they will lose only one member of the team, senior Melissa Suter, to graduation.

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