West Chester University gymnastics squad placed third at the ECAC Division II Championships held inside Moore Fieldhouse on the campus of Southern Connecticut State University Saturday afternoon. Bridgeport University captured its seventh straight championship with a team score of 195.225. Southern Connecticut State University placed second with a 191.875, and West Chester finished in third with a score of 190.600.
Decided by a pre-meet draw, West Chester started its competition on the vault. Despite tough judging, the girls had a solid performance. Freshman Rose Wortman, of Bellefonte, Pa, led off the team with a strong 9.25 performance. Teammate Samantha Engle also had an outstanding performance vaulting her way to a 9.425. Ahead of Engle, sophomore teammate Selena Swanger posted a well-deserved 9.575. Leading the Lady Rams in the anchor position, Majesta Valentine had a huge vault scoring a 9.700 placing fifth on the event.
The Rams carried their strength and depth to the uneven bars where the girls have shown strong performances all year. The team had a knockout performance on the event. Junior Lindsay Knapp, of Collegeville, Pa, led the team off swinging to a strong 9.325. Teammate Alyssa Hult had a standout performance on the event scoring a career-best 9.75 placing fifth on the event. Behind Hult, teammate and anchor Meghan Brannon finished out the competition on the uneven bars for the Rams with a huge 9.725 sixth place finish.
WCU’s success carried over to their next event, the balance beam. Unfortunately, the Rams had a tough outing, counting two falls on the event. Cecelia Lorenzen, of Windsor, Pa once again led the team off with a gorgeous beam routine. Lorenzen’s 9.550 set the tone for the remainder of the event for the girls. Senior teammate Cassandra Ringer had a huge performance posting a 9.600 on the event. Anchor Valentine finished up the competition on the balance beam for West Chester. She had a flawless performance that was well reflected in her career-best 9.85 score and placing first overall on the event.
WCU gymnastics headed to their last rotation, the floor exercise, where they would round out their ECAC Championships. All six girls on the line-up had strong performances. Freshman Madison Brent, of Waxhaw, N.C., started out the Rams on the event with a beautiful 9.575 performance. Teammate Hult also tumbled her way to a standout 9.700 routine. Again, anchor Valentine had a knockout performance scoring a 9.75 and placing fifth overall on the event.
In the all-around competition, Majesta Valentine finished second overall, behind Sasha Tsikhanovich of Bridgeport, with a score of 38.850. Teammate Selena Swanger finished fourth overall with a score of 37.300.
At the conclusion of the competition, the year-end ECAC awards were announced and distributed. For the second year in a row, junior Meghan Brannon was named ECAC Specialist of the Year for her performance on the uneven bars. Additionally, Barbara Cordova and Sherri Missimer were named Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year.
The West Chester women’s gymnastics team is also proud to announce they will be sending eight of their gymnasts to the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Nationals inside the Polestra on the campus of University of Pennsylvania in early April. The eight Golden Ram individual qualifiers comprised of Majesta Valentine, Selena Swanger, Cassandra Ringer, Lindsay Knapp, Meghan Brannon, Alyssa Hult, Rachel Blair, and Madison Brent marks a team-high during head coach Barb Cordova’s tenure. West Chester is not among the teams competing, but topped the 191-point plateau for the first time this season several times.
Sophomore all-arounder Majesta Valentine, of Wilmington, Del. was also selected to participate in the 2015 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Regionals as part of the Morgantown Regional announced Monday afternoon. Valentine was ranked third in the region and qualified as one of the five all-arounders.
Valentine becomes the first West Chester gymnast to be picked for the NCAA Division I Regionals in school history. She will travel to West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.V. to compete in the NCAA Regional meet on April 4 at 4 p.m.
Lauren Bilenki is a fourth-year student majoring in accounting and finance. She can be reached at LB759145@wcupa.edu