This post was written by Hatchet reporter Joshua Soloman.
At their season-opening Lindsey Ferris Invitational Sunday, the Colonials vaulted towards their common goal: NCAA regionals. After consecutive years of finishing second fiddle to Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) rival North Carolina, the women’s team stood on top of the podium, 193.425 to 192.950. It was the first time GW won its first home meet since 2002.
The team was lead by senior captain Stephanie Stoicovy and junior Betsy Zander who came in one, two respectively with personal bests of 38.975 and 38.875 in the individual all-around. The meet is named after late alumna Lindsey Ferris, and honors the exceptional attitude she presented on and off the floor. Along with the meet bearing Ferris’ name, it also culminates in an “Attitude is Everything” award, which was presented to Zander today and given to Stoicovy last year.
“To get that award is such a privilege for me and I’m so honored to get it because hearing how much she did for everyone, to get represented like that is such an amazing accomplishment,” Zander said.
Head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham, who is in her 29th year with the team, said Zander was “very deserving” of the honor. The recipient of the award last year, Stoicovy, was ready for the Colonials’ first home meet this season. Perhaps the biggest moment of the afternoon came when she performed her floor routine fifth, the last rotation for GW in front of a loud home crowd.
Following a fall by sophomore Courtney Willoughby, the senior captain came up strong with a 9.875 in the event. It would later earn her top honors for floor, help her win the all around, and contribute to GW’s ultimate meet title.
“It’s great to win it, but we want the team winning and that was the most satisfying part of it all,” Stoicovy said.
The mission for the team is to compete at the regional level this season, and its depth can only help. Zander had a career-high 9.740 on the uneven bars, and placed third on the balance beam. Sophomore Elena Corcoran tied for second place in her first career floor exercise competition, finishing with a 9.775.
The only freshmen competing for GW Sunday was Taylor Redmond, who had limited practice time over the last week after spraining her ankle. Though she fell during her balance beam routine, there was nothing but praise for the young talent after competition ended. Zander touched on her positive attitude and Stoicovy called her a “rock” and said she was looking forward to the rest of the season with her freshman teammate..
“I told her she battled hard. I like that she came back strong and finished strong after a major mistake,” Foster-Cunningham said. “She has a bright future and I have a lot of confidence in her.”
As her team sat atop the day’s rankings, Foster-Cunningham praised the increased scholarships and resources, pointing to athletic director Patrick Nero’s support as a gamechanger for the Colonials.
With a maximum of 12 scholarships to be used, Foster-Cunningham said the future of the program this year and in years to come is bright.
“We want to be that dog, not the one on the porch but the one that comes off the porch and works really hard and goes after it. I love the aggressive nature of the athletes today,” Foster-Cunningham said. “They believed in themselves and you could see that today.”