Women's Gymnastics Opens 2009 With GW/Lindsey Ferris Invitational
Jan. 16, 2009
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington University gymnastics team will kick off the 2009 season Friday, January 16, when it hosts its own GW/Lindsey Ferris Invitational, at 6:00 pm at Charles E. Smith Athletic Center. Five other teams are slated to compete against the Colonials including East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) rivals North Carolina and Rutgers, as well as ECAC members Cornell, Temple and William & Mary.
Head Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham enters this season with 410 head-to-head victories, all at GW. Those 410 wins are the most by any coach while at GW. Foster-Cunningham's Colonials finished 5th at last year's EAGL Championships, which matches GW's best since entering the league in 2005. The Colonials will be led by junior Christa Devine, who received All-EAGL honors on both bars and beam in 2008. Sophomore Leslie Delima is also a returning All-Conference performer as she was named All-EAGL in the all-around. Senior Kristen Simpson and junior Megan Quinn round out the All-conference performers from 2008, with honors first team honors on vault for Simpson and second team honors on floor for Quinn.
With nine letterwinners returning from last season's roster, along with a talented freshmen trio, Head Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham looks to get the Colonials back into NCAA Regional competition.
"This team has a lot of experience with three seniors and a fifth-year senior leading the way," Foster-Cunningham said. "We should be able to improve our standing from last season and will have a strong chance to qualify for the NCAA regional championship. We are all looking forward to the challenge."
The Colonials return an eclectic array of talent with lots of experience and freshmen that come in with a lot of potential to accomplish big things.
Freshman Amanda Murphy has competed for the Woodlands Gymnastics Academy (WGA) in Texas for the past 13 years. A three-time Junior Olympic National qualifier, Murphy was the Region 3 Champion on the floor exercise in 2008, and finished second in the all-around. Murphy also finished second on vault and third on both the bars and beam. Additionally, Murphy was the State Champion on the balance beam in 2006.
"Murphy will be one of the strongest recruits coming to GW ever," Foster-Cunningham said. "She will impact our starting lineup on every event. Amanda is a dynamic athlete who will be exciting to watch."
Freshman Brittany Burnham also will debut this season for the Colonials after training at Chantilly Academy Gymnastics under Colonials assistant coaches Barry Kistler and Justin Watson, as well as former Colonials gymnast Anne Foster. Burnham was a 2007 Level 10 Regional qualifier.
Sophomore Leslie Delima hopes to improve on a very strong freshman campaign in which she qualified for the NCAA tournament in the all-around.
"She competed in every meet all season long and only had one fault all season," Foster-Cunningham said. "That kind of performance is very hard to come by and I see Delima having another outstanding season this year."
Delima is already in the GW record book after recording a 9.850 on balance beam during the 2008 season.
Senior Kristen Simpson returns this season as one of the co-captains for the Colonials in 2009. She has been a consistent competitor for GW during her time at Foggy Bottom and will compete on the vault, beam and floor this season. She qualified for the NCAA Southeastern Regional in 2008 and will look to improve on that in 2009.
Simpson also finds herself in the GW record book after producing a 9.950 on vault last season as well as a 9.850 on vault later in the year. Only GW alum Erin Aiken has a higher vault score in the history of the program, when she recorded a 9.950 in 2004.
Gillian Coleman returns to Foggy Bottom as a late addition after deciding to return to the team since graduating from GW. Coleman returns to campus as a graduate student and will finish her final year of eligibility in 2009. She is a top competitor on floor and also will compete this season on bars and vault.
"She was a late addition to us and will really fill a lot of holes," Foster-Cunningham said. "I was thrilled when Gillian decided to come back. She will give us more depth in several events."
Megan Quinn returns for her junior year and will compete in the All-Around in 2009 after competing in every event except vault last season. She is described by Foster-Cunningham as a "leader on the floor" and "someone who will be very important for us in the upcoming season."
Junior Christa Devine also returns for George Washington and will be a heavy contributor on bars and beam this season. She is coming off of ankle surgery this off-season, but had the highest average score on beam last season and is looking to continue that in 2009.
Junior Lindsay Tom had the best score on balance beam in 2008 and will add vault and floor in 2009. Senior Bree Plotsker returns as a strong contributor on bars and beam. The team is counting on top scores from Plotsker in these two events this season.
Senior Erin Quigg also will be a tough competitor on vault and bars. After stepping up and winning a solid position in the 2008 beam line-up, junior Danielle Parretti will be a valued addition to both the vault and floor teams.
The Colonials have a very challenging schedule in 2009, which is highlighted by four home meets and three trips to Raleigh, N.C., which is also a host for an NCAA regional this year. The season begins once again with the Lindsey Ferris Invitational on Friday, Jan. 16, and will continue with the Rutgers Invite on Saturday, Jan. 24. The season shifts to Morgantown, W.Va., for the West Virginia Invite the following weekend, and the team will take on the Mountaineers again in Washington the weekend after that.
The Colonials first trip to Raleigh, N.C., to take on N.C. State and UNC, is on Friday, Feb. 13. The team then returns home to host William & Mary the following Sunday. Trips to New Hampshire and Ohio State are scheduled after the home meet, and the Senior Night meet will be against Towson University on Wednesday, March 11. This meet will honor seniors Bree Plotsker, Erin Quigg, Kristen Simpson and Gillian Coleman.
The season concludes with a meet at N.C. State two days after senior day night on Friday, March 13. N.C. State then hosts the EAGL Championships on Saturday, March 21, and two weekends after that the NCAA regionals begin on Saturday, April 4.