Gymnastics competed in its first home meet of the season Sunday at the 13th annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational.
The Colonials, who were ranked second in the 2020 EAGL Preseason Poll, posted a team score of 193.225 to earn the second spot on the podium. Kent State placed first with a score of 195.325, while the Pennsylvania and Cornell finished third and fourth with a score of 192.85 and 191.375, respectively.
“What I’m really pleased with is the fact that last week, we had two events that were strong,” head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said. “This week we had three events that were strong. And now, next week, hopefully, we’ll be ready to hit the ground running and be really competitive.”
The Colonials opened their season last week at the Little Boston Invitational, where they placed second with a team score of 192.775. With the exception of the overall floor score, which decreased by 1.235 points, the team either maintained or improved its scores Sunday to earn their spot on the podium.
GW jumped out to an early lead after the first rotation thanks to a 48.975 on the vault, matching its season-high performance from its opening meet. Sophomore Deja Chambliss led the team with a career-high 9.875.
The Colonials’ saw an improvement from last competition’s performance on the bars, notching a season-high 48.850. Sophomore Simone Banen was part of a five-way tie for first place on the bars, where fellow Deja Chambliss and sophomore Olivia Raymond joined her and two Kent State gymnasts in scoring a 9.800.
After the second rotation, GW retained the lead by a slim .175 margin over Kent State, which amassed 97.650 points after two rotations.
On the beam, the squad notched a 48.800, down from its season-opening 49.750 beam performance. Senior Cydney Crasa recorded her personal best in the event with a 9.800, falling short of the podium but improving her score from last week by 0.050. Banen had the second highest beam score of all competitors, earning a 9.285.
“I thought the girls were aggressive,” Foster-Cunningham said. “I thought that they performed without hesitation, which is what I’m looking for, and we were just a little tentative on floor. So, we’re getting there, little by little.”
Heading into the final rotation, the Colonials were on top 146.625 points, but Kent State began to close the lead, narrowing the deficit to .125 points.
GW recorded its lowest score on the floor, earning a 46.600. Juniors Katya Karpova and Rachel Kaplan led the pack with season-high scores in the event. Karpova maintained her score of 9.775 and Kaplan received a 9.725. Despite the season-high performance, Kent State recorded 48.900 points in the final rotation to bump GW into second.
“Every single meet, we get better and better,” Banen said. “And I think coming into the floor, we just needed that little extra and we’re going to have that next week. It’s just about that extra snap, that extra technique that we know we have, that we’ve been training. It’s just about transferring it into the meet.”
The invitational is held every year in honor of Lindsey Ferris, a former gymnast who became a special agent for the Air Force Office of Special Investigation before passing away in 2006.
Every year, the program presents the “Attitude is Everything” award, established in her memory in 2007, to a GW gymnast whose attitude and work ethic honors Ferris’. The 2019 recipient was recent graduate Alex Zois, who overcame injuries that cut her 2018 season short but bounced back to achieve success as an all-around gymnast last season.
The ceremony also included a collection of video messages from alumni played before the meet to celebrate Foster-Cunningham’s 35th year of coaching.
“Just being a part of this legacy and being able to honor the people that came before us, and show what GW gymnastics is really about, is an incredible, incredible feeling,” she said.
The Colonials will hit the road for their next meet, taking on Sacramento State, Alaska, and UC Davis Friday. Competition begins at 7 p.m.