Gymnastics wins for seniors

It was only once the basketball hoops had been tucked away for the year and layers of mat and foam covered the floor that a GW sports team was finally able to lock away a 2009 Senior Night win in the Smith Center.

The GW gymnastics team took on Towson for its final home meet and, from the first rotation, before the chalk dust had even settled, it was clear the Colonials were outperforming the Tigers.

And for the rest of the meet, they did.

GW outscored Towson’s team score on every apparatus to take the win with a final score of 194.700-192.750. That decisive finish, GW’s highest team score this season, was a feat in a sport where placements often come down to hundredths of a point.

Individually, GW gymnasts took first on the vault, bars and floor. Ten Colonials placed, compared to just four Towson competitors.

Senior Kristen Simpson took an individual first on the vault and floor exercise, while freshman Amanda Murphy won her first all-around title, with a final score of 38.850.

In a surprising sweep, three GW gymnasts, graduate student Gillian Coleman, junior Christa Devine and junior Megan Quinn took first along with Towson gymnast Kacy Catanzano in a four-way tie. Though no individual GW gymnast scored under a 9.175 on any apparatus, two Towson gymnasts tied for first place on the beam.

The team’s season has been good, with an 11-7 record, but something seemed to click in this final home game.

“We have about a 50-50 record against Towson, so we didn’t expect to sweep the events as a team,” coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said. “This has been our strongest, most consistent performance this year. And it happening on Senior Night made it really special.”

The win was especially significant given the injuries which threatened some of the team’s strongest members. Junior Lindsey Tom and freshman Monique Blount have been out all year, and Murphy injured her hand on a fall from the bars last weekend.

Foster-Cunningham attributed the night’s success to the seniors, who were honored in a postmeet ceremony.

“My seniors have been great leaders and I can’t always say that about the upperclassmen,” Foster-Cunningham said. “I’m not saying it just because you’re supposed to on senior night. I think that they really held the team together this year.”

Simpson agreed that team dynamics helped bring about her final home win.

“We talked as a team about the difference between being adhesive and cohesive,” Simpson said, crying. “We’re more cohesive. We do more than just stick together.”

GW will travel to North Carolina to take on North Carolina State on Friday. They will return to the Tar Heel State next Sunday to compete in the East Atlantic Gymnastic League Championships.

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