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Gymnastics team remains at the top of their game

by Justin Maybach-The Stylus
Thu, Feb 16th 2017 01:00 pm
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr
Photos courtesy of Brockport Athletic Communications via Flickr

The College at Brockport women's gymnastics program has been consistently successful throughout the years, and that is no secret.  As of right now, the team remains undefeated in dual meets.  The girls recently placed third at the Cornell University Invitational, beating Ithaca College and losing to Cornell and University of Bridgeport.  

Head Coach John Feeney, a 1976 Brockport graduate, has been at the helm since the 1999-00 season and has led the team to success through the years.  He's developed the women's gymnastics program at Brockport into one of the top Division III gymnastics programs in the country.  One of his keys to making the program so successful has been recruiting excellent gymnasts from multiple states.  In fact, out of all 29 gymnasts on the roster, 24 come from outside New York State.  

Sophomore Candis Kowalik fell in love with the program right from the start.

"Feeney reached out to me and asked me to come visit," Kowalik wrote.  "He really proved to me that he cared about each gymnast individually in and out of the gym and that this would be a place I could call home and could grow as a person."

Kowalik, a Rhode Island native, has certainly grown to be one of the top gymnasts on the roster.  She was recognized as a national champion last year when she finished in first place overall on beam in the 2016 National Collegiate Gymnastics Association's Individual Championship.  Recently, Kowalik received an NCGA Gymnast of the Week selection along with senior Jen Sklenar.  She's earned that honor twice this season.

Just like the men's basketball and wrestling teams, the women's gymnastics team has a perfect record of 2-0 at home so far this season with one meet remaining.

How successful has the program been in recent years?  Since the start of the 2011-12 season, the team has posted a 21-0 record at home for dual meets and individuals.  The last time the Golden Eagles lost a dual meet at home?  Feb. 26, 2011 against SUNY Cortland. The last time the team lost a road dual meet?  Jan. 20, 2016 against Ithaca.  

Meghan Cash, another sophomore on the team, believes that playing at home really gives the team a huge advantage when competing against some of the best programs in the country.

"I think being in our normal everyday setting gives us that extra boost of confidence," Cash wrote.  "The worry and stress of adjusting to different equipment and a different climate isn't there."

The team's success at home has been well-recognized.  A lot of fans have filled the bleachers in the Tuttle North Gymnastics Center for the first two home meets.

"These people are our friends and we want to show our school all that we work for," Cash said.

Any thoughts of the gymnastics team's success coming to a halt should be dismissed; a lot of the successful gymnasts on the team are sophomores, and there are a total of 20 gymnasts on the roster who are underclassmen.  So, if you haven't gone to see these exceptional gymnasts yet, most of them will be here in the years to come.

Brockport will be back in action for their final home meet of the regular season this Sunday when they host the same Cortland gymnastics program that beat them at home nearly six years ago when none of the girls on the team were at Brockport.  This will be the final home meet for the team's six seniors as well as the annual Stick it to Cancer meet.

jmayb1@u.brockport.edu

@JustinMaybach24