Gymnastics Inks Four to NLIs

Paige Apperson, Olivia Raymond, Deja Chambliss, Simone Banen
Nov. 15, 2017

WASHINGTON -- George Washington gymnastics' head coach Margie Foster-Cunningham has announced that four student-athletes have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Colonials starting in the 2019 season.

The quartet consists of Deja Chambliss (Chesterfield, Va.), Simone Banen (Wyckoff, NJ), Olivia Raymond (Boonton, NJ), and Paige Apperson (Mission Viejo, Calif.).

Deja Chambliss
Chesterfield, Virginia/Clover Hill High School
Club: Richmond Olympiad Gymnastics

Competed for Richmond Olympiad Gymnastics ... competed at the 2017 National Championships, where she earned 1st place team honors and took fifth place in vault ... won the All-Around silver medal at the 2017 Hill's Maryland Classic ... 2016 Richmond Fall Class All-Around Champion (37.9) ... 2016 Gymstrada Invitational Vault Champion (9.9).

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Chambliss: "Deja is a tremendous athlete. She is a powerful vaulter and tumbler. Our Colonials fans will love watching her compete."

Chambliss on Choosing GW"I chose GW because it has outstanding opportunities not only for my gymnastics but also my academic career. Having both of my intended majors, I can see myself growing into the adult I've always aspired to be. GW also has an environment that made me feel safe and at home as if I were a Colonial before I even became a Colonial. Lastly, I have family in all directions of D.C. so my family is close enough to watch me make new memories in the Smith Center."

Simone Banen
Wyckoff, New Jersey/Indian Hills High School
Club: North Stars Gymnastics

Competed for North Stars Gymnastics ... three-time Junior Olympic National Championships Qualifier (2014-17) ... 2017 Level 10 State and Regional Champion.

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Banen: "Simone will be a fantastic addition to our roster. She is an outstanding competitor and a beautiful bar worker. I'm so excited to have her aggressive style add to the strength of our team!"



Banen on Choosing GW: "I chose GW because it is unique in that it combines all that I'm looking for in a university experience. Its high-end academics, great gymnastics program, and amazing location were all factors that ultimately helped me to make my decision! I love the team and its dynamic, and can contribute in a positive way to its future success. I knew when I chose GW I would not only graduate with a degree that would set me up for my future, but with friends I would have for life."

Olivia Raymond
Boonton, New Jersey/Mountain Lakes High School
Club: North Stars Gymnastics

Competed for North Stars Gymnastics ... three-time Junior Olympic National Championships Qualifier (2014-17) ... 2016 Nastia Liukin Supergirl Cup qualifier ... 2016 Region 7 Regional floor champion ... 2016 New Jersey Optional Gymnast of the Year ... 2015 New Jersey States bars, floor, and all-around champion ... 2014 Region 7 Regional vault champion.

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Raymond: "Olivia is a strong all around competitor. She has had a tremendous amount of success nationally. She's an absolutely beautiful athlete and will make an instant impact on the strength of our program."

Raymond on choosing GW: "I chose GW because it has the perfect combination of high-level athletics and incredible academics. The energy of GW is remarkable and the determination, hard work, and perseverance of the gymnastics team really shines through. I absolutely love Washington, D.C. and as soon as I stepped on campus I felt like I was home. I know my four years at George Washington will be filled with amazing, unique experiences and terrific opportunities. I cannot wait to be a part of GW's excellent gymnastics team and join in the school's rich traditions."

Paige Apperson
Mission Viejo, CA/ Spring-Ford High School
Club: Silvia's Gymnastics

Competed for Silvia's Gymnastics ... Junior Olympic National Championships qualifier (2015) ... all-around champion and took silver in vault and beam at the 2017 Silvia Mitova Invitational ... 2016 Greater New York Gymnastics Invitational vault champion.

Coach Foster-Cunningham on Apperson: "Paige is a powerful athlete. Her vault, bars and floor are outstanding. I'm so excited to have her as part of the Colonial family."

Apperson on Choosing GW: "I chose George Washington University for several reasons. It is a highly ranked academic institution with top programs in the areas of journalism and international affairs which I am extremely interested in. Not only is the university outstanding, but also the location and opportunities in one of the most exciting cities in the United States are unparalleled. From the first day I stepped on campus and spent time with the girls on the team and the amazing coaching staff, I knew that becoming a part of the George Washington University gymnastics team would be a dream come true"!

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