The George Washington University: Women's Gymnastics

GW Gymnastics Opens Season at Sunday's Lindsey Ferris Invitational

Graduate student co-captain Kayla Carto leads the largest roster in GW Gymnastics history into the 2014 season.

 
Graduate student co-captain Kayla Carto leads the largest roster in GW Gymnastics history into the 2014 season.
 

Jan. 10, 2014

@GWGymnastics | Ticket Information | Live Stats | Watch on RaiseHigh.tv | About Lindsey Ferris

WASHINGTON - The George Washington gymnastics team will open its 2014 campaign by hosting the annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Sunday afternoon at the Charles E. Smith Center at 1:00 p.m.

In the seventh installment of the event, dedicated to the memory of former gymnast Lindsey Ferris `01, the Colonials will welcome regional rivals Temple, Penn and Cornell to the Smith Center.

Last season, the Colonials topped the field of North Carolina, Cornell, Penn and Temple to win the event for the first time since 2002, and the first time since the event was renamed in honor of Ferris in 2007.

Ferris was a four-year performer on the gymnastics team and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Communication in 2001. Lindsey's legacy at GW lives on today.

Live coverage of the meet will be featured on RaiseHigh.tv and real-time scoring will be available here. Additionally, live scores will be updated on the official @GWGymnastics Twitter feed.

2014 Season Outlook

Own it. That is the slogan for the 2014 George Washington gymnastics team, which opens its season on Sunday afternoon at the seventh annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational.

"This team has really embraced the idea of getting out of your comfort zone and moving forward," said Margie Foster-Cunningham, who enters her 29th season as head coach. "They really have looked great this preseason. They are so pumped and ready to go. They have owned everything, from their mistakes to their victories at practice, and they are ready to put it into competition."

 

 

Last season, GW just missed making the podium at the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championship in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Colonials put forth an outstanding effort against a very competitive field, finishing in fourth place with a 194.750 team score - both program-bests since joining the conference in 2006. Unfortunately, the team fell short of its primary team goal of qualifying for NCAA Regionals.

"We are so close right now that they can taste it at this point," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "There really is a good vibe going on with these girls. They are very positive and confident. Our theme this year is "own it" and they have really embraced it. Compared to last year we are better, we are a lot better."

Thirteen letterwinners return to the roster for the 2014 campaign and are joined by a quartet of freshmen, making the roster size of 17 the largest in program history.

"The upperclassmen have provided a great deal of leadership to get the freshman up to speed fast," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "And, I love it. I love how they put their arms around them. The seniors want to be on the podium at EAGL and at NCAA Regionals this year. They know that we need the freshmen. They are all tremendous athletes with a bag full of tricks that we need to get where we want to go. They have been working hard and building for four years towards this moment and they are ready."

The journey will begin on Sunday afternoon when the Colonials look to defend their title after winning their premier home event for the first time since 2002 a year ago. The 2014 schedule will bring the team up and down the East Coast, facing tough competition both within the EAGL (North Carolina, NC State, Maryland, Towson, Rutgers, Pittsburgh) and out of conference (Missouri, Penn State, Bridgeport, Eastern Michigan, William & Mary). Despite the road that lies ahead, the team is focusing on only the meet in front of them as they work towards its first NCAA Regional appearance as a team since 2002.

"We are really trying to stay within our Colonial bubble and take it one step at a time," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "We can't afford a misstep. We have to take an approach where every meet is going to move us closer toward our goal of being at Regionals as a team. They expect to be there, that's how they work. It's a different emotional level that this team is at. We are prepared for success and they are ready for it. It's not going to surprise them when they do well."

SENIORS

Kayla Carto (Graduate Student) - Davison, Mich. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Carto: "She is in the best shape of her life right now. Having that fifth year of experience, she is doing an awesome job. She will be in the all-around, which is amazing as a fifth-year senior. She is taking it very seriously and she is very excited for this season. Her along with Betsy, are two of the best leaders I've ever had. It's a coach's dream to have these two lead a team."

Betsy Zander - Millersville, Md. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Zander: "She is like a racehorse ready to break out of the gate. Betsy is one of the best leaders we have ever had at GW. She knows how good her teammates are, and she has trained very hard. She is right at the top of the pile here, ready to break out and have a great senior year. She is in great shape and has updated all of her routines. You can't hold her back. She is ready to go."

Taylor Henderson - Newport, R.I. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Henderson: "As a captain this year, Taylor has really stepped up in her leadership role. She looks outside of herself and has been a key component in bringing the freshman along. As far as competition, that experience at NCAA Regionals as an individual performer last year was so big for her. It opened up another world for her. This year, she wants our team to be there with her. She is solid on vault, bars and floor and she is going to be really good this year."

Kiera Kenney - Warrington, Pa. - Uneven Bars/Balance Beam

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Kenney: "Kiera has had a great preseason and has really been focusing on her uneven bars and balance beam routines. She is a top competitor on both of those events and we count on her consistency to set the tone for each of those lineups."

Sara Halliburton - Duluth, Ga. - Vault/Uneven Bars

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Halliburton: "Sara is focusing on vault and bars for us this year. Whenever we need something, Sara is ready to go. She takes her preparation and her role on this team very seriously. Whenever her number is called she is there for us and ready to deliver."

Brittany Doran - Hopedale, Mass. - Uneven Bars

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Doran: "A bars specialist who came on very strong last year and performed very well with us. Brittany has outstanding form and technique. She is ready to go and is excited. She already has a job for after graduation so it has allowed her to focus solely on gymnastics this preseason."

JUNIORS

Kaija Aploks - New Hartford, N.Y. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Aploks: Kaija has just broken out with her confidence. Her vault and her floor routines are right there and she is ready to make a huge contribution this season. In our intersquad scrimmage, she did a Yurchenko Layout Full, which is 10.0 value vault, that will knock your socks off. She has finally stuck it after working on it for two years so she is ready to go."

Elena Corcoran - Pittsburgh, Pa. - Vault/Balance Beam/Floor Exercise

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Corcoran: "Elena has one of the best competitive minds of any athlete I have ever coached. She is just tenacious and when her number is called she is ready to go. She was spot on at our intersquad with her vault, beam and floor routines. She can get herself into the zone and hold herself there and is a very solid and smart competitor."

Courtney Willoughby - Stow, Mass. - Vault/Balance Beam/Floor Exercise

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Willoughby: "Unfortunately, Courtney is out for the year which is a shame. She was so in shape and ready to go but she will be back next year and we will miss her for sure."

Brenna Marcoux - Glastonbury, Conn. - Balance Beam/Floor Exercise

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Marcoux: "Brenna is specializing in beam and floor this season. We have focused on those two areas this fall and it has really helped her hone her skills in those events. She will be competition ready in both of those events this season."

SOPHOMORES

Taylor Redmond - Nanuet, N.Y. - Uneven Bars/Balance Beam/Floor Exercise

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Redmond: "Taylor is coming off a sprained ankle so she has been working her way back from that. With her, we are focusing on floor, beam and uneven bars. She could be ready on any of those events at some point this season."

Alexsis Petrikis -Grove City, Pa. - Uneven Bars/Vault

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Petrikis: "Alexis is focusing on bars and vault right now. She is a little bit behind the curve due to an injury but really pushing herself hard to be ready by mid-season."

Tessa Bouman - Durand, Mich. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Bouman: "Tessa will miss this season with an injury. She is still an important part of our team and we will miss her this season."

FRESHMEN GWsports.com Feature on Freshmen Class

Alex DeMoura - Garden City, N.Y. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on DeMoura: "She is an outstanding competitor, she has national championship experience. She is a combination of beauty and power and we expect her to impact our lineup in the all-around this year."

Kaitlin Cowles - Canton, Conn. - Vault/Uneven Bars

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Cowles: "Kaitlin is a phenomenal uneven bars worker, it is her strongest event. Her skills on this event will have her near the top of our lineup.

Chelsea Raineri - Telford, Pa. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Raineri: "Chelsea is going to be a joy to watch on the all-around. She is an outstanding vaulter and performs one of the most difficult vaults there is in the country right now, the Yurchenko 1 ½, and does it exceptionally well. She placed second at JO Nationals with it this past year."

Kaila Solomon - Woodcliff Lake, N.J. - All-Around

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Solomon: "Kaila has had a good fall and is doing well on balance beam right now. She is in a building mode right now and making great progress, with a focus on beam and floor exercise. She is a great teammate and brings a lot of value to the team."

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