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Gymnastics team spirit drives their success

by Justin Maybach
Tue, Jan 30th 2018 09:00 pm
Sophomore gymnast Shelby Schumaker (above) lands in style after a routine. The Brockport gymnastics team is currently holding a meet record of four and one, making it one of the best sides in the conference. The team's only loss came against Southern Connecticut State University where it only lost by a mere 15 points. The team's success has not only come from talent but also great communication and chemistry.
Sophomore gymnast Shelby Schumaker (above) lands in style after a routine. The Brockport gymnastics team is currently holding a meet record of four and one, making it one of the best sides in the conference. The team's only loss came against Southern Connecticut State University where it only lost by a mere 15 points. The team's success has not only come from talent but also great communication and chemistry.

The College at Brockport women’s gymnastics team has achieved tremendous success in recent years, and this season appears to be no different.

It started on Tuesday, Jan. 9, when the Golden Eagles hosted the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons and won 184.450–183.800. Junior Candis Kowalik and senior Brittany Vasile each scored a 9.825 on their floor routines, which paved the way for a team score of 48.450 on the floor. 

On Sunday, Jan. 21, the Golden Eagles traveled to face the Ithaca College Bombers in another dual meet and won 188.375–186.950. Junior Stephanie Mager was the only Brockport gymnast to compete in all four events, finishing with a score of 37.875. 

In recognition of her performance, Mager was named the National Collegiate Gymnastics Association (NCGA) East All-Around Gymnast of the Week. She was thankful for this award and gave her fellow gymnasts a lot of credit.

“There is no possible way I could have gotten here without my teammates supporting me and encouraging me through every routine,” Mager said. “My team is what got me here and keeps me motivated throughout the season. They are my backbone and without them I’m not sure where I would be.”

Mager, a native of Andover, Connecticut, finished first on the vault with a mark of 9.525 while taking third on the floor with a mark of 9.675.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, Brockport competed in a quad meet at Springfield University. The Southern Connecticut State University Owls placed first with a score of 191.000. However, the Golden Eagles finished in second place (190.975) ahead of the Brown University Bears (190.600) and the Springfield College Pride (188.300).

Despite sitting out due to injury, Kowalik liked what she saw in the dual meet.

“I think the team did a great job really executing what we’ve been doing in practice,” Kowalik said. “We handled the pressure and corrected a lot of little things and that’s all we can ask for at this point in the season. I’m extremely happy for the people who competed today and proud of how far we have come in such a short time span.”

The Golden Eagles are hoping to match their accomplishments from last season, where they placed first in the NCGA Regionals and third in the NCGA nationals in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Head coach John Feeney has been at the helm for the past 18 seasons, leading the program to national prominence including an NCGA national championship victory in 2012. 

According to Feeney, this season comes with several challenges.

“We lost a lot of routines from last year, as well as having some serious injuries this year,” Feeney said. “It will be important for everybody to step up and help out.”

Brockport’s roster is stacked with several talented gymnasts, such as Mager and Kowalik, who have returned from the previous season along with eight freshmen. Among the freshmen are Amy Eck and Jamie Sklenar, who had the advantage of having  an older sister who competed with the team and graduated last May.

The Golden Eagles return to action on Sunday, Feb. 4, to host Ithaca at 1 p.m.

NYAC at 4—1—1, with a 2—1—1 record and five points in SUNYAC play. SUNY Geneseo leads the division with six points with Plattsburgh in third with four points.

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