Springing into a New Season

January 26, 2011

More than a dozen Colonials teams in play this spring.

Outside it might still be winter, but it’s a new season for sports at GW.

With everything from gymnastics to water polo and lacrosse in play, it’s one of the busiest times of the year for the Colonials.

Swimming

Coach Dan Rhinehart’s men’s and women’s swimmers dove into their seasons in October. The teams will wrap up their home seasons against George Mason in the pool on Jan. 30 and compete in three more meets before the Atlantic 10 Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., Feb. 23-26.

The men’s and women’s squads welcomed 18 talented newcomers and 22 returning swimmers for the 2010-11 season, including five seniors led by record-holder Paola Leor.

Four Colonials have been named Atlantic 10 Conference Performer or Rookie of the Week for their strong showings at meets.

Gymnastics

The 2011 GW gymnastics team features a trio of talented upperclassmen in addition to four returning performers and a large incoming class of seven freshmen.

“This team has a bright future,” says Coach Margie Foster-Cunningham, who is beginning her 26th season at the helm of GW gymnastics. “We are more talented than ever and have a team that is ready to meet the challenges ahead this year.”

The squad is led by lone senior Leslie Delima, who was voted 2010 team most valuable player.

The season began earlier this month and will conclude with GW hosting the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL) Championships, the premiere event of the 2011 season, on March 19 at the Charles E. Smith Center.

Squash

The GW men’s squash team began their 2010-11 season with 10 consecutive victories, reaching No. 16 in the College Squash Association standings, and recording the biggest win in program history over then 15th-ranked Bowdoin.

The women’s team opened the first half of the 2011 season by winning their first four matches, and eight of their first nine.

Wendy Lawrence, in her fifth season coaching the men’s squad, now also coaches the women’s. The teams’ seasons, which began in October, will end in late February.

Softball

Changes to the team’s roster this year begin with a new head coach in Stacey Schramm.

The Colonials return seven of nine everyday starters and have added four players to this year’s squad.

Pitching will be the key to success with junior Kara Clauss returning as the ace of the team. Senior Ali Pardo and junior Heidi Penna will pick up key relief innings and freshman Courtney Martin joins the team from Tempe, Ariz.

“Our pitching staff complements each other very well,” says Coach Schramm. “Each offers a different look for opponents.”

The Colonials will return every starter on the infield, led by senior co-captain Katie Terrazas at shortstop, and will end their regular season against La Salle University in May.

Baseball

Baseball is pinning its hopes on three talented freshmen who are expected to have an immediate impact on the pitching staff. Owen Beightol was a three-year starter in high school both as a pitcher and a position player. Right hander Taylor Lambke and lefty Colin Milon were All-Stars in high school for both pitching and hitting.

“This team is put together a little differently than our recent GW squads,” says seventh-year head coach Steve Mrowka. “We are going to have more pitching depth to go along with a solid defense. The offense will continue to focus on the short game, but an increase in power is expected.”

The GW baseball team will wrap up their regular season in May with a home series against Temple University.

The Colonials graduated nine seniors including the entire starting infield and two-thirds of the starting rotation and two players--A-10 Player of the Year Tom Zebroski and pitcher Eric Cantrell--were drafted by the Kansas City Royals.

Men’s Tennis

GW’s fifth year men’s head coach Greg Munoz and the Colonials have the 2011 Atlantic 10 Conference Championship title in their sights but are also looking to put GW on the national collegiate men’s tennis map. Mr. Munoz guided the Colonials to an 11-10 record in 2010 and reached the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship finals for a second time in four years.

“Last season was supposed to be a great season for us, but injuries and personal issues kept us from achieving our goals,” says Mr. Munoz. “We have a great new class of student-athletes, no graduates and a brand new mind set.”

The men’s tennis squad returns four players who were named A-10 All-Conference last season. Erik Hanna and Ugur Atalay in doubles and Christopher Kushma and Yan Levinski.

The team’s season will conclude with a matchup against Georgetown University in early April.

Women’s Tennis

Women’s tennis opens the 2011 spring season with their sights on a return to the Atlantic 10 Championship finals.

Led by the 2010 Atlantic 10 Women’s Coach of the Year Dawn Buth, the Colonials compiled 11 victories last season in their second-place finish, their highest total since the 2001-02 season.

“Our co-captains, exhibited impressive leadership this fall and will play an instrumental role for us by providing unwavering and proactive leadership in the spring,” says Ms. Buth.

GW co-captains Jennifer Hirsh and Jacqui Corba headline seven returners and three newcomers on the 2011 squad, who will face their final opponent, Towson University, in early April.

Water Polo

Starting in February, George Washington women’s water polo program will play in the newly realigned Southern Division of the Collegiate Water Polo Association. The change from three divisions to a pair of six-team divisions means two significant things for the Colonials: additional home games and an automatic bid to the league’s Eastern Championship for a shot at a berth in the NCAA Final Four.

“We have a young team with seven freshmen, new faces who will be balanced out by our seven upperclassmen,” says Coach Scott Reed. “We had a great offseason, and I think this team will be one of the most balanced during my 12 seasons at GW.”

The 18-member women’s squad will complete its regular season competition at the Charles E. Smith Center in April.

Lacrosse

George Washington women’s lacrosse head coach Tara Hannaford will have seven new student-athletes join the Colonials for the 2011 season, including Two-time US Lacrosse First Team All-American Madison Pohle .

“I am extremely excited about this freshmen class,” says Ms. Hannaford, who is in her fourth season at GW. “They are an outstanding addition to our program as each of them brings an added level of intensity and speed. I expect this class to make a strong contribution to the 2011 team.”

In late April, the Colonials will play their last regular season game at GW’s Mount Vernon Quad against the University of Richmond.

Rowing

Under the guidance of second-year head coach Eric Carcich, the GW women’s rowing team will look to continue to climb the rankings in the competitive Atlantic 10 conference. Last year, the Colonials won the bronze medal at the Atlantic 10 Championships with all four of their entries qualifying for the finals.

The 2010-11 men’s rowing team features a stable of big and strong underclassman with tremendous potential. Three-quarters of the roster is freshmen or sophomores and second year coach Mark Davis has assembled a squad that could be the program’s foundation for years to come.

With approximately four months of competition already behind them, both teams hope to place in their respective championships in late spring.

Golf

The GW golf team hits the links again in March. Over the past two years, the Colonials have seen a steady improvement in its conference championship play and have a goal of finishing consistently among the top three in the conference every year. This season’s Atlantic 10 championship begins in late April.

“This is what coaching is all about, tremendous opportunity for success,” says third-year coach Terry Shaffer.

For a complete list of schedules and game coverage for all sports, visit www.gwsports.com.

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