After arriving at the College of William and Mary in 1995, women’s Head Coach Mary Lewis took four years to build her program into a regional powerhouse. From 1999 until 2003, the Tribe won four ECAC championships, and Lewis was twice named conference coach of the year.
However, as Lewis enters her 15th season at the helm, the College has lost some of their earlier momentum, repeatedly falling short of the pinnacle of ECAC gymnastics with a series of ill-timed mistakes and a tendency to wilt under pressure.
This year, with a veteran squad comprised of seven seniors, the Tribe is prepared to regain the ECAC trophy.
“The last time we won was 2003, so it will have been six years come March,” Lewis said. “We have a team that’s strong enough and can compete for it.”
Among the biggest challenges for Lewis will be filling the void left by graduated seniors Stevie Waldman and Tricia Long. Collectively, the duo accounted for eight of the Tribe’s 24 routines a season ago, while also competing in the all-around.
In 2009, the Tribe will turn to the leadership of senior captains Becca Bacharach and Lauren Jackson, while relying on reigning ECAC gymnast of the week sophomore Dina McNaughton and freshman Kristin Milardo to anchor the squad.
“I think our team is probably closer than we’ve ever been,” Bacharach said. “We have a good group of people, and I think we have the most potential we’ve had [in the last four years].”