The gymnastics team sent three gymnasts to the NCAA Regional Championships last season, but this year, the Colonials are focused on sending a few more gymnasts to the meet. In fact, they are determined to qualify as a team.
After placing second out of four squads at the GW/Lindsey Ferris Invitational to open the 2007 season, the Colonials are set to build on last year’s success and book a trip to NCAA regionals in Morgantown, W. Va., on April 14.
Tri-captain Maggie Parrack, who led the team with 28.775 total points in three events in the second meet of the year against defending Division II national champions Texas Woman’s University, nationally-ranked Oklahoma and Centenary, said that the team’s dedication to its objective is what differentiates this year’s team from those in past years.
“Everyone is competing for the common goal of going to regionals,” Parrack said. “We have a lot of heart and are pouring all of our energy into this goal every day, in and out of the gym.”
The squad finished third in the quadrangular meet in Denton, Texas, with tri-captain Carolyn Marckesano scoring a team-high 9.550 on the balance beam. The junior said that the team seems more prepared than ever to make the step to the next level, adding that it will be essential for the Colonials to “attack and take advantage” of every meet.
“We’ve been working really hard in the gym and it’ll pay off,” Marckesano said. “The entire team has a contagious passion for gymnastics and for each other.”
Parrack said that she expects the entire team, veterans and freshmen alike, to drastically improve in all four events. To get to that point, Marckesano said, every gymnast will have to give it her all in each and every routine, which includes avoiding mistakes.
“We’re going to work with what we’ve done in the past two meets and look to move up from here,” Parrack said. “We are really looking to pick it up here quickly in order to achieve our goal.”
Although gymnastics may occasionally get overlooked at GW, tri-captain Jessica Guilbert said that the large turnout at the GW/Lindsey Ferris Invitational showed that the student body is taking notice.
“It is not unusual for people to ask, ‘Since when do we have a gymnastics team?'” Guilbert said. “We truly appreciate the support of our fellow students and having a crowd certainly makes competing more enjoyable.”
Guilbert said that junior McKenzie Parrack, Maggie’s sister, is another gymnast who is a significant contributor and has taken a leadership role in practices and competitions in addition to a renewed sense of confidence. McKenzie led the Colonials with two second place finishes in the first meet of the year.
Marckesano and the younger Parrack both emphasized that they will need to lead by example and support their teammates in and out of the gym, not to mention provide a little “tough love.”
“My goal is to be open and always be there for them as well as help motivate them to do what they are all capable of doing,” Marckesano said.
The Colonials competed at West Virginia Saturday night against the Mountaineers, Penn State and Kent State, however results were not available at press time.