Gymnastics is set to return to competition next weekend at the annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational after finishing the 2021 season in fourth place at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championships.
This year, the Colonials were picked fifth in the EAGL preseason poll based on the ranking predictions of the eight EAGL affiliated head coaches. GW set a season-best team score of 195.800 boosted by team scores of 48.850 on vault, 48.875 on bars, 48.850 on beam and a season-high 49.225 on floor at last year’s competition.
Prior to last year’s EAGL meet, the squad had scored above 195.00 in each of their last two meets in the 2021 season after being picked to finish third in the EAGL preseason poll.
Head Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said the team has been preparing for the season by focusing on their execution, including “strong handstands on bars and sticking all landings and dismounts.” She said these details will prove vital as the team looks to earn major points for postseason qualification.
“I’m very excited for the 2022 season, this team is eager to get out and compete,” head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said in an email. “We had an abbreviated year last year because of COVID-19 and we’re planning to take advantage of every opportunity we have. Our motto this season is ‘We Commit…We Conquer.’”
She also said the program will look to put the best team out on the floor possible despite the challenge of “uncertainty” in the current climate.
“The team that can last the longest this year will have success,” Foster-Cunningham said. “We have been focusing on not only our physical endurance but our mental endurance. This is a strong group of young women that I have a lot of confidence in.”
GW will host this year’s EAGL conference championship March 19. Foster-Cunningham said they are looking forward to vying for a championship win and a postseason qualification to the NCAA championship.
The Colonials return with 11 letter winners and six new gymnasts for the 2022 season. Among them is sophomore gymnast Kendall Whitman, who was named 2021 EAGL Champion on the conference floor while also earning the accolade of Rookie of the Week twice in her first season.
Whitman finished in a three-way tie for first overall on floor with her 9.900 performance at the EAGL conference championship last year. She said the added depth in the freshmen class will take the squad further this year and said she is excited to get back on the floor with her teammates and show everyone what they’ve been working on.
“This season we are hoping to have a lot more opportunities to compete than we did last year, to be able to show all the hard work we have been putting in everyday,” Whitman said in an email. “With these opportunities, I expect us to bring higher scores and a lot more energy to each competition.”
Last season, senior gymnast Deja Chambliss finished in a three-way tie for second overall at the EAGL conference with a score of 9.850 on vault and earned a trip to the Salt Lake City NCAA Regionals as an individual where she scored a 9.825. Chambliss joins senior Olivia Zona to co-captain the team this season.
“My expectation for the upcoming season is the post-season of course,” Chambliss said in an email. “We have such a great team that will take us far this year. I’m most excited to have fans in the stands on Smith again. We’ve missed the cheering fans, it wasn’t the same without them last year.”
Chambliss said the team has been working on mental toughness and stamina to hold a better focus over details without letting nerves and angst set by the competition get the best of them.
“I expect this season to be a lot longer than last season. In addition, I think we will walk away from this season with our heads held high because we made use of every opportunity and treated it as if it could be our last,” Chambliss said. “This year, we are leaving it all on the floor.”
The Colonials will open the 2022 season at the Smith Center with the annual Linsey Ferris Invitational Jan. 16 at 1 p.m.
This article appeared in the January 10, 2022 issue of the Hatchet.