Women's Gymnastics Begins 2002 Season Sunday, Jan. 20

Jan. 14, 2002

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* The Maryland Terrapins women's gymnastics team will travel to Denton, Texas on Sunday, Jan. 20 to open the 2002 season against the Texas Women's Pioneers.

* Third Time's The Charm. Sunday marks only the third meeting between the schools, and the Pioneers enter the meet undefeated against the Terrapins. However, Maryland has never opened a season against Texas Women's, and the Terps are 29-14 in opening meets, 12-3 in opening dual meets. Maryland has not lost a season-opening dual meet since falling to Towson on Jan. 22, 1994.

* Late Start. The Terps will be the last team in the East Atlantics Gymnastics League to start the 2002 season, having their first meet 10 days after New Hampshire and Rutgers commenced the season on Jan.10.

Pioneer Facts

* Texas Women's (2-0) opened the season with a tri-meet victory over the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and the Univesity of Wisconsin-River Falls on Sunday, Jan. 13.
* Head coach Frank Kudlac has a career-record of 373-348-1 over 23 years. Last year the Pioneers placed fourth in the USAG Collegiate championships and finished the season with a high team score of 194.100.

Preseason Highlights

* Maryland was ranked No. 22 in the preseason coaches poll released on Jan. 1, 2002. Since then, the rankings are based on high score, making the Terps ineligible for a ranking until competition begins.

* Senior Gillian Cote (Fredericksburg, Va.) leads the Terps as the only NCAA All-American on the team. Cote is a two-time national competitor who holds Maryland's all-around record with a 39.625.

* Senior Spotlight. The Terrapins' senior class anchors this year's team with five of the 10 returners competing in their final seasons. Out of those five, one is an All-American (Gillian Cote), one is an NCAA alternate qualifier (Lisa Mealey, Bensalem, Pa.) and three have received conference recognition at least twice since their rookie seasons.

* Soaring High In The EAGL. Maryland was one of only three EAGL teams noted in the pre-season ranking. West Virginia placed right in front of the Terps at No. 21, and NC State closed the top-25. Last year, Maryland, New Hampshire and NC State were the only EAGL teams to finish the season in the top-25, with Maryland at No. 14, New Hampshire at No. 22 and NC State at No. 24.

* Olympian Dominique Dawes will be a manger for the Terps in 2002.

Seniors All-Around

* Five of the Terrapins 14 competitors will compete in their final seasons at Maryland in 2002. All-around All-American co-captain Gillian Cote, NCAA alternate qualifier Lisa Mealey, Kit Johnson, Alyssa Mealey and Chrissy Samwell comprise a senior class that Nelligan says is "the most important class of his career."

* All-American Gillian Cote has made her mark in Maryland's history books. Cote, who made her mark in the Maryland record books as a rookie, is coming off of her second trip to nationals as an all-around competitor, which found her earning All-American status for the first time. Cote finished eighth in session two at nationals with a score of 39.050. An invaluable support for the team, Cote is a key competitor in every event, holding school records on vault (9.9), uneven bars (9.925), balance beam (9.95) and all-around (39.625), and tying for the second-highest floor exercise score (9.975).

* Lisa Mealey, who had a phenomenal season in 2000 after adding vaulting and beam to her repertoire, is Maryland's next strongest competitor entering 2002. Lisa finished seventh in the all-around at the NCAA Southeast Regional meet in 2001, earning a position as an alternate NCAA national competitor. She also established new career-highs in every event - a 9.8 on vault, 9.925 on the uneven bars, 9.825 on beam, 9.875 on floor, and 39.375 in the all-around. Mealey's 9.925 on bars ties with Cote for the highest in Maryland history.

* Kit Johnson (Virginia Beach, Va.) is expected to be the Terps' strongest beam competitor and a key vault competitor as well. Her career-high 9.925 on beam is tied for the second-highest beam score in school-history. At the NCAA Southeast Regional meet in 2001, Johnson earned a career-high 9.850 on vault.

* Alyssa Mealey (Bensalem, Pa.) looks to extend her contributions to the team and is increasing her start values on both her vault and bar routines. One of the strongest bar competitors for the Terrapins, Mealey earned All-EAGL second team recognition for bars in 2000 and 2001.

Looking Back on 2001

* The Terps were phenomenal in March, starting the month with a 195.500-195.350 upset of then-No. 11 Penn State. Lisa Mealey earned career-highs on bars with a 9.925, on beam with a 9.825, on floor with a 9.875 and in the all-around with a 39.375. Then-senior co-captain Jill Fisher and Gillian Cote also began their comeback that night with Cote earning a season-high 9.9 on floor and Fisher earning a career-high 9.850 on bars, a career-high 39.300 in the all-around and winning the floor exercise with a 9.925.

* The regular season concluded with a thrilling showdown against George Washington that was decided by 0.5 points. Gillian Cote earned a season-high 39.525 in the all-around and Lisa Mealey won bars with a 9.9. Fisher was able to boost Maryland's floor score with the first perfect performance at Ritchie Coliseum, earning her first 10 of the 2001 season. Maryland defeated George Washington 196.500-196.000. The meet found the Terps earning the second-highest team score (196.500), second-highest bars score (49.225), fifth-highest beam score (49.125), fifth highest floor score (49.300) and seventh-highest vault score (48.850) in school history.

* At Nationals, Gillian Cote and Jill Fisher made history, becoming the first Terrapins to earn NCAA All-American honors. Cote earned a 39.050 to finish eighth in her session, while Fisher concluded the season as the No. 4 floor exercise competitor in the country.