GW Gymnastics Hosts Season-Opening Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Sunday
Jan. 10, 2013
WASHINGTON - The George Washington gymnastics team will kick off its 2013 season by hosting the sixth annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Sunday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center.
The Colonials will welcome East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) rival North Carolina along with Cornell, Penn and Temple in the latest installment of the invitational.
The Lindsey Ferris Invitational is named in memory of the former GW gymnast who passed away in January 2006. Ferris was a four-year performer on the gymnastics team and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Communication in 2001. You can read more about Lindsey's legacy here.
2013 Season Outlook
For the fourth year in a row, the George Washington gymnastics team sent at least three gymnasts to the NCAA Regional as individual performers. In 2012, four gymnasts made the cut, a trend that has been seen often under 29th-year head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham. The Colonials have sent at least one gymnast to Regionals as an individual performer every year since 2003.
Individual successes aside, the biggest goal heading into the 2013 season is to send the entire roster to the NCAA Regionals as a team for the first time since 2002.
"Our major goal is to make it to NCAA Regionals as a team," noted Coach Foster-Cunningham. "We send more individuals to regionals than any other team in the country and we are tired of that. We want the whole team to be represented there. We are right on the verge of being able to do that. The girls are ready to compete hard and we are putting the people in the right places to succeed. Everything we are doing is in preparation to qualify for Regionals."
The season begins on Sunday as the Colonials host the sixth annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational. Last season, the Colonials finished in second place in a field that included North Carolina (1st), Temple, Penn, Cornell and William & Mary.
"There is so much pride in being on the floor for the Lindsey Ferris Invitational," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "It is a great environment for us to start strong. Obviously, it is the first meet of the year so there are going to be some things we will need to work on, but I feel we are going to have a strong year and it all starts on Sunday."
Carto missed all of last season with a shoulder injury but is expected to be ready in time for the season opener following months of rehabilitation. The Davison, Mich., native qualified for the NCAA Regionals in her first two seasons and was an All-EAGL Second Team selection in the all-around as a sophomore.
"It is going to be awesome to have Kayla back this year," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "She is such a leader and has been so positive and consciences in her rehab effort. She is going to be a huge addition to have back and add to the depth of the lineup this year."
Carto can use Stoicovy's journey back from a season-ending injury as a point of motivation. Stoicovy suffered a similar injury to her shoulder early in her sophomore season but battled back to have a memorable junior campaign. The Erie, Pa., native was named GW's Most Valuable Player while qualifying for the NCAA Fayetteville Regional as an all-around performer.
"Stephanie has an amazing standard of excellence for a young student-athlete," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "She embodies everything that GW gymnastics strives to represent. Having her as an all-arounder in a leadership position means she is well respected by everybody and will be our leader this year."
Stoicovy was also an All-EAGL First Team selection on both floor exercise and all-around and appeared on the All-Around podium eight times during the season. She will be an integral part of the Colonials lineup, which features seven underclassmen and nine upperclassmen.
Roy, GW's floor exercise specialist, enjoyed her best season as a Colonial last year. She scored a career-high 9.875 on the event and was named to the EAGL All-Tournament Second Team after posting a 9.850 at the EAGL Championships.
"Titi is so much fun to watch. She has a new floor routine this year and everyone is going to love it. She loves it, and you can tell when she is out there. She has added to her difficulty and is prepared to have her best season of her career this year."
The Washington, DC, native scored 9.850 or better in the final five meets of the season and was selected to the EAGL All-Academic Team.
One of the largest recruiting classes during Foster-Cunningham's tenure at GW now enters its junior season. This sextet has evolved into a reliable group of performers, headlined by Millersville, Md., native Betsy Zander.
Zander has transformed into one of the top performers on the roster following an impressive first two seasons. Last year, she recorded 16 routines of 9.700 or better and earned the Lindsey Ferris Award and Starter Award (balance beam, uneven bars). She was also named to the EAGL All-Tournament First Team following a 38.725 all-around performance at the EAGL Championships.
"Besty is the heartbeat of this team," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "Everyone rallies around her positive energy and her work ethic is just unmatched. She is going to have a great year and people are following in her footsteps."
Kiera Kenney followed up her impressive freshman season with a strong sophomore campaign. She qualified for the NCAA Regionals for the second year in a row on uneven bars and was GW's leading performer on the event in each meet. Kenney also competes on the balance beam and vault and will add the floor exercise to her repertoire in her third competitive season.
"Kiera is working all-around this year, for the first time in her career. She is healthy and is such a great competitor that we wanted to move her onto floor exercise. You will see her in the all-around lineup later this season."
Taylor Henderson was the recipient of GW's Most Improved Award last season after setting career-high scores in three events and competing in each meet. She is expected to be a reliable performer on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise in her junior season.
The sophomore duo of Elena Corcoran and Courtney Willoughby will be looked upon to build on their very successful freshman campaigns, when both gymnasts competed in 12 meets and garnered All-Conference honors.
"With a year of collegiate competition experience behind them, I expect strong seasons from Elena and Courtney," said Foster-Cunningham. "They are a great duo to lead the sophomore class."
Corcoran was named the Colonials' Most Outstanding Rookie and Top Performer: Vault after appearing in all 13 meets. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native qualified for the NCAA Fayeteville Regional as an individual performer on the vault, where she tied for 17th-place with a 9.800. She was an EAGL All-Tournament Second Team selection for both vault and uneven bars and was also named to the EAGL All-Academic Team.
"When I think of Elena, I think of composure," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "She has a very good mind and is very focused."
Willoughby appeared in 12 meets in her debut season and recorded 14 routines of 9.700 or better. The Stow, Mass., native earned GW's Starter Award: Floor Exercise and EAGL All-Conference Second Team honors for the all-around. She proved to be a consistent performer and will play a key role in the Colonials' lineup this season while serving as a mentor to the trio of freshman joining the team in 2013.
"Courtney has really loosened up this year. We are starting to see her fun side and it is really helping her gymnastics."
Other returning sophomores are Brenna Marcoux and Kaija Apoloks, who saw limited time as freshman but figure to crack into the lineup this upcoming season.
An accomplished trio of scholastic gymnasts - Taylor Redmond, Tessa Bouman, and Alexis Petrikis - round out the Colonials' 2013 roster, each expected to provide immediate production in their debut season of collegiate competition.
The class features a bevy of competition experience at the highest levels.
Redmond, a Level 10 gymnast, was the 2012 New York State floor exercise champion and regional floor champion. She also won the New York state title on the all-around, balance beam, floor exercise and uneven bars in 2009.
"Taylor has made the transition really well from club gymnastics to collegiate gymnastics," said Foster-Cunningham. "She is going to impact us and the success of our team right of the gate."
Boumon won the gold medals in the all-around and uneven bars and a bronze medal on the balance beam at the 2012 JO National Invitational Tournament in Hampton, Va. The Durand, Mich., native also served as the first alternate on the JO National Team as a freshman and senior while competing at AGA Gymnastics for 14 years.
"Unfortunately, Tessa is out for the year with a knee injury but she has remained so positive and is already rehabbing and preparing for next season."
Petrikis also competed at the JO National Invitational Tournament as a senior in addition to a number of State Championship and Regional Championship appearance in her native Pennsylvania.
"Alexsis is doing great. Her bars are very strong and her vault is outstanding."
The Colonials will host four meets at the Charles E. Smith Center during the 2013 season. Following the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, GW hosts North Carolina and William & Mary for the Pink Meet on February 11, West Virginia on March 10 for the annual Brownie & Girl Scout Meet and Towson, Maryland and Brown for Senior Day on March 17.
Road trips include visits to North Carolina (w/ W&M, Jan. 20), Kent State (w/ Western Michigan, Jan. 25), New Hampshire (w/ Yale, Feb. 3), NC State (Sweetheart Invitational, Feb. 16), Maryland (w/ Pitt & Bridgeport, Feb. 22), West Virginia (w/ Denver & Temple, March 3) and Towson (w/ West Chester & Southern Connecticut, March 15).
The East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships will be held at North Carolina's Carmichael Arena in Chapel Hill, N.C., on March 23.
The full schedule can be viewed here.