Gymnastics places second in opener

GW gymnastics opened up its 2011 season at home Sunday, starting strong with a second-place finish overall in the first of four home meets for the Colonials this season.

The Colonials hosted the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, which featured seven teams, including two of GW’s East Atlantic Gymnastics League rivals in North Carolina and Rutgers.

GW’s victory was heartening to head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham, who pointed out after the meet that this is the youngest team she has coached during her tenure at GW, with seven freshmen and just one senior on the roster.

“As you can see today, the first half of the meet was challenging, but once they got their feet under it a little bit we really performed well in the second half of the competition,” Foster-Cunningham said. “Their learning curve is short… Down the road we are going to be one of the stronger vaulting teams.”

Colonials senior Lesle Delima was a standout for GW Sunday, placing second overall on the balance beams and the vault, and capping off her performance with a first-place routine in the floor exercise. Delima’s all-around score of 39.175 was the second highest total of the day, a performance that Foster-Cunningham described as “fantastic.”

Delima was more humble, explaining that she’ll judge her season based on her overall poerformace this season.

“I would like to remain consistent [this season],” she said.

Junior Brittany Burnham set a personal record on the uneven bars, and sophomore Kayla Carto finished fifth place in all-around, earning a career-best score on the vault. Freshman Betsy Zander and Taylor Henderson also performed well in their first-ever meet in the Smith Center. Henderson and Zander had the second and third-best scores for the Colonials Sunday, with Zander posting the top score for the Colonials on the balance beam.

The Colonials will next travel to Cleveland Friday for a meet against Kent State, Brigham Young and Wisconsin-Oshkosh. As GW looks to build on its strong start for the season, Foster-Cunningham said she was cautiously optimistic about her team’s prospects.

“[We are] Just giving it our all,” Foster-Cunningham stated. “But I do think that this is going to be our best year ever.”

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