Only three seniors participated in the 2011 season opener.
The women’s gymnastics team opened its 2011 campaign with a solid showing at the Lindsey Ferris Invitational, hosted by George Washington, posting a score of 189.625.
Junior Corrine Williams led the Owls as the team’s only all-around competitor with a 36.95 overall score, including a sixth-place finish on the floor with a 9.8.
The Owls, who finished sixth out of seven squads, seemed upset with their placing but appeared happy with the strong showing early. The team was able to put up impressive scores on the vault and floor, where the Owls were among the highest in the meet with a 47.925 and a 47.85, respectively.
“I think we did pretty well, not as good as we’d like to,” Williams said. “Our first two events we were winning, and then, by the time we got to the last two events, it seemed like the girls were getting a little tired out or, I don’t know, maybe it was nerves.”
Despite the late troubles, the team showed some remarkable talent, especially from the arrival of freshmen Sylvie Borschel, Brianna Ferdinandi, Heather Zaniewski and Jasmine Johnson. Zaniewski competed in three events – the vault, uneven parallel bars and the beam – while Borschel and Johnson led the newcomers with impressive performances on the vault, posting 9.6 a piece.
Of the five returning seniors, only Marissa Oxenford, Kathryn Ho and Chelsea Troutman competed. Ho led the Owls with a 9.575 on the bars, putting her in 17th. Oxenford tied Williams with a 9.575 on the beam to lead the Owls, which put her 13th in the meet.
Williams was impressive most of the day, leading the team on the vault, beam and floor. Her only blemish came on the bars, where she finished with a 7.95, hurting her all-around score.
“I think I did really well on the floor. I ended up with a 9.8,” Williams said. “Vault I ended up with a 9.625. I think it was alright, just one really big step and probably a break in my form. And then bars were really bad, I don’t even want to talk about it. Beam, it was wobbly for me but I stayed on and I stuck my dismount so that would be a plus.”
Junior Kaity Watson, a possible NCAA Regional’s qualifier, also had a notable showing, as she posted a 9.225 on the vault, a 9.525 on the bars and a 9.525 on the floor. The two juniors were regular contributors last season and the Owls will be relying on them to lead the team to an Eastern College Athletic Conference championship.
“Absolutely, we want to win ECAC’s,” Williams said. “[We’re] trying to go all the way.”
Overall the team faired well in its first meet of the season. Having finished in the top three in the conference the past few seasons, there is confidence the Owls can bring themselves to the next level.
“I think we had a strong first meet,” Watson said. “We had a couple mistakes, but they’re going to be really easy to iron out. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.”
“If I were to use last year as a comparison I would say that this year is going to be better because I feel like we’re still working up to get to our plateau,” Williams added. “So we’re moving up the hill, and then we’ll peak, and we’ll be at a good place as far as team scores and all that.”
The scores should definitely improve if the team can get sophomores Jean Alban and Meg Walch back into competition. Alban was one of the team’s best all-arounders last year and Walch was a consistent producer as well. Regardless, someone on the team will have to step up and replace senior Katie Canning, who will not compete this season because of an injury.
The early production from Borschel, Zaniewski and Johnson will only help down the road, especially if they continue improving upon their collegiate debuts. If Watson and Williams can develop their performances as well, the sky’s the limit.
“We have a decent base score to go off of, and I just think the team’s really strong this year. We’re going to do really well,” Watson said.
Jake Adams can be reached at email@example.com.