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The GW Hatchet

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Officials to clear homeless encampment near campus in May
By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • March 4, 2024

Gymnastics ends season in sixth place at EAGL Championships

Gymnastics closed out the East Atlantic Gymnastics League Championship in sixth place out of eight teams after entering as the fourth seed where they hoped to gain their second consecutive title last Saturday.

The Colonials, ranked 40th nationally in Division I, scored a total of 49.025 on the vault, 48.000 on the bars, 48.650 on the beam, 48.850 on the floor, good for an overall tally of 194.525 points, which fell more than a point below the team’s season average. Graduate student Deja Chambliss and sophomore Sarah Zois became vault champions after recording a pair of 9.900s, marking a career-high for Zois and a second-straight title for Chambliss.

The Colonials totaled an overall score of 194.525, which fell 1.975 points behind the crowned champions, Towson, who totaled 196.500, GW fell just .400 points behind fifth-place Temple and led seventh-place LIU by .250.

GW built up their success by racking up seven second-place finishes and one win during the regular season with a team National Qualifying Score of 195.970 and an average of 195.568. Chambliss also recorded a three-way tie for first place on the floor with a 9.900 score.

The Colonials kicked off the championships on the beams, where Chambliss led the team with a 9.850, followed by a 9.775 from both Whitman and junior Anneliese Silverman. Zois and sophomore Marlee York scored 9.550, while sophomore Rachel Katz ended the lineup with a 9.050, totaling GW’s beam score at 48.650.

For the second rotation, the Colonials were once again led by Chambliss, who totaled a 9.900 and was followed by a 9.800 score by freshman Deana Sheremeta. York totaled 9.750, while Silverman and junior Payton Lynch posted 9.700s. Whitman completed the rotation with a 9.350, which set the Colonials at a comfortable 48.850 overall floor score.

In their third rotation, the Colonials took on the vault, where both Chambliss and Zois led with a 9.900s that crowned them vault champions, while Whitman added a 9.775, which was followed by a 9.750 by Katz. Senior Hannah Munnelly and York finished the lineup with a 9.700 and 9.625, respectively, which ranked the Colonials to an overall score of 49.025.

The Colonials closed out the EAGL on the bars where senior Libby Garfoot led with a 9.825 while Munnelly posted a 9.725 that was followed by a career-best from senior Nora Houseman with 9.650. Chambliss, Silverman and Katz finished the competition with 9.525, 9.275 and 9.225, leaving the Colonials with 48.000 points in the bars.

The league announced Chambliss as the Senior Gymnasts of the Year after the conclusion of the EAGL Championship, becoming the first GW gymnast to earn the title since Cami Drouin-Allaire in 2018. The title marks Chambliss’s second-consecutive major EAGL title after winning EAGL Gymnast of the Year in 2022.

Chambliss led the Colonials in the 2023 regular season with an NQS of 39.345 and an average of 39.079. Chambliss was ranked 49th among gymnasts nationwide, and second in the EAGL.

Head Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham said the team “laid the groundwork” this year for the coming seasons by having 14 returning gymnasts face tough competition in national top-10 teams like No. 5 Louisiana State University. She said the team faced inconsistency, with gymnasts either performing disjointedly or not having a consolidated performance.

Foster-Cunningham said this season has laid the groundwork with younger players for the future of the GW program, where the team will be able to build on their legacy of success at the EAGL.

“I think what you are witnessing really is a very, very strong culture,” Foster-Cunningham said in an interview. “That culture of excellence, a culture of understanding that we’re protecting the legacy of those that came before us, and the excellence that GW represents.”

Foster-Cunningham said Chambliss has been a “positive light” for the team as a consistent source of outstanding performances and besting top competitors every week, calling the attention of different coaches across the league during coach conference calls where they would give positive remarks on Chambliss’ performance.

“She has the ability to perform and be excellent all the time,” Foster-Cunningham said. “It’s something that’s respected throughout the country, and Deja is one of those athletes, one of those few athletes. So you become known because your name keeps popping up every week for different awards.”

Chambliss and junior Kendall Whitman will compete in the individual qualifiers at the NCAA Regionals Friday, where Chambliss will compete in the all-around event while Whitman takes to the floor.

Last season at the NCAA’s, Chambliss recorded a 9.825 as an individual competitor on vault, 9.800 on bars, 9.825 on beams and a 9.825 on the floor, finishing eight in the all-around and fifth on the vault while Whitman recorded a 9.890 on the Individual Qualifier on floor.

The Colonials started to pick up momentum in the season at the Pink Meet in February, where they notched a first-place finish over North Carolina, Temple and Yale in February, as well as a first-place finish at Senior Day at home against Towson, Maryland and William & Mary in March.

At the Pink Meet, the Colonials recorded a season-high total of 195.975, powered by season-best 49.175 points on the bars. On Senior Day, the Colonials recorded a total of 195.950 points and a season-high 49.300 points on the floor.

Reflecting on her fifth and final season with the Colonials, she said she’s proud of her accomplishments but has not let them get to her head, just seeing them as “prime examples” of hard work.

Chambliss said both she and Whitman have been focusing on their routines for Regionals by nitpicking any remaining gritty detail to make sure they obtain the highest score they can. She said they are not focused on being perfect but on giving the perfect effort for the next few weeks.

“You’re just doing your routines, if you know how but when you get into that regional competition, not everyone’s going to be there,” Chambliss said. “And so you have to be at your top performance. You have to point out though, make sure that back leg is straight.”

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