GW Gymnastics Opens Season Hosting Lindsey Ferris Invitational at 1 pm on Sunday

The GW gymnastics team opens its 2012 season on Sunday afternoon, hosting the annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational at Smith Center.

Jan. 14, 2012

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WASHINGTON - The George Washington gymnastics team opens their 2012 competition schedule by hosting the annual Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Charles E. Smith Center.

The Colonials will welcome East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) rival North Carolina along with Penn, Temple, Cornell and William & Mary to the newly-renovated Charles E. Smith Center.

The meet will be shown live via video streaming on GW All-Access

2012 Season Outlook

The George Washington gymnastics team concluded the 2011 season by sending five individuals to the NCAA Regional in Athens, Ga. This season, with the help of a quintet of talented freshman in addition to two seniors and 10 other returnees, 27th-year head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham hopes to expand the traveling party to the entire roster and send the Colonials to Regionals as a team.

"The team has high expectations for this season," said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "We are getting a real boost with veterans Monique Blount and Stephanie Stoicovy returning to full strength. We also have the strong sophomore trio of Betsy Zander, Kiera Kenney and Taylor Henderson that will be key to our success as well."

Three-time team MVP Leslie Delima is the lone loss from last season but a core of veteran leadership has emerged following her departure in senior co-captains Brittany Burnham, Amanda Murphy and redshirt junior Monique Blount.



"Brittany Burnham will start the season sidelined with a hand injury but Amanda and Monique are ready to go and are poised to have their best seasons yet. Monique will be competing on Beam, Vault and Floor and Amanda will be returning to the All-Around."

Burnham specializes primarily on uneven bars and balance beam and was a key part of the Colonials' lineup last season, competing in every meet during the season. She was named to the EAGL All-Academic team and once again will find herself in a leadership role with a bevy of underclassman on the roster.

Murphy has emerged into a consistent threat on all events after totaling 11 routines of 9.7 or better in her junior season. The Woodlands, Texas, native proved to be a versatile athlete, competing on all events throughout the season, punctuated by a career-high 9.8 in the floor exercise at last season's EAGL Championships.

Blount, sidelined in her first two seasons due to injury, made her collegiate debut last season and appeared in nine regular-season meets as well as the NCAA Athens Regional. She competed primarily on the vault and on balance beam and posted a season-high score of 9.775 on the beam on three separate occasions.

Also returning for the Colonials are juniors Kayla Carto, Stephanie Stoicovy and Nefertiti Roy.

Stoicovy competed in six meets, all on floor exercise, in 2011. She finished second on the team in the Maryland Quad Meet and also set a career-high 9.825 at the EAGL Championships.

Roy improved her score on the floor exercise in each of the first six meets that she competed in, including a career-high 9.750 at the West Virginia Quad Meet.

Carto, an All-EAGL Second Team selection in the All-Around, suffered a shoulder injury during the preseason and will be sidelined for the duration of the 2012 season. It is a tough loss for the Colonials but Coach Foster-Cunningham is confident that the rest of the roster can step and fit the void in her absence.

"Losing Carto this early in season has made the team do some soul searching. The underclassman are showing real character stepping up their game to fill the holes we have and I am really proud of the unity and support the athletes are showing in the face of this challenge."

Six sophomores round out the returning gymnasts, including two All-EAGL selections in Betsy Zander and Kiera Kenney.

Zander made an immediate impact in her freshman season, competing in every meet and recording 10 routines of 9.7 or better. She also finished second among five GW gymnasts at the NCAA Athens Regional with a 37.550 in the All-Around. She was named to the All-EAGL Second Team in the All-Around.

Kenney also shined in her debut season, joining Zander at the NCAA Athens Regional where she competed on both uneven bars and balance beam. Kenney was named the All- EAGL Second Team on the bars.

Brittany Doran and Sara Halliburton were named to the EAGL All-Academic Team while Taylor Henderson appeared in 11 meets, highlighted by a 9.8 on the floor exercise against NC State on Feb. 27.

Also joining the Colonials in 2012 is a talented incoming class of five freshmen, three of which are former Level 10 Nationals qualifiers. The newcomers, coupled with last year's recruiting class of six, makes the Colonials one of the youngest teams in the EAGL.

Brenna Marcoux, Nikki Minervino, Elena Corcoran, Courtney Willoughby and Kaija Aploks all figure to contribute throughout the season, especially with the loss of Carto.

"Courtney Willoughby and Elena Corcoran are two of the freshman that I expect to have an instant impact on our success" said Coach Foster-Cunningham. "We needed depth on Vaulting and they are outstanding on this event."

Following Sunday's Invitational, the Colonials hit the road for the next six weekends with visits to Ohio State (Jan. 21), West Virginia (Jan. 29), Pittsburgh (with Rutgers/William & Mary, Feb. 4), North Carolina State (with Penn State/William & Mary, Feb.11), Central Michigan (Feb. 19) and North Carolina (Feb. 24).

GW returns to the Charles E. Smith Center March 3 to host East Atlantic Gymnastic League (EAGL) rival Pittsburgh at the annual Brownie & Girl Scout Meet. Four days later, the Colonials welcome the Ivy League's Yale Bulldogs to the Smith Center for the annual Pink Meet (March 8).

The Colonials then travel to Lexington, Ky., to face Kentucky on March 11 before visiting nearby Towson, along with Penn on March 16. GW closes out the regular season on March 18 by hosting Towson at Smith Center.

The 2012 EAGL Championship will be held March 24 in Pittsburgh, Pa., at the Peterson Events Center. The Colonials will face league members North Carolina, North Carolina Central, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, New Hampshire, West Virginia and host Pittsburgh in an attempt to win the league crown and an automatic berth to the NCAA Regional Championships (April 7).

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