Brown Gymnastics Team Gears Up For 2007 Season

Feb. 9, 2007

Providence, RI - The Brown gymnastics team, under the direction of head coach Sara Carver-Milne, is back in action and more exciting than ever. With six returning letterwinners and four newcomers, including a World Champion, the Bears are building on their successes from last year and will remain competitive in the ECAC this year.

After graduating six seniors from the 2006 squad, Carver-Milne is looking to junior captains Sarah Durning (Roswell, GA), and Hannah Goldstein (New York, NY) to pick up the slack and lead the team this year.

Although Durning is unable to compete due to an injury, she has willingly stepped up to the challenging role of being a team captain. The Bears will miss Durning's presence on the vault this year, as she was the team's leader and high scorer last season. Against UPenn, Durning earned Brown's top score with a 9.725, nearly hitting Brown's school record of 9.775. Durning was one of five Brown gymnasts who qualified to compete at the USAG National Meet at Cornell.

Also making an impact this year will be Goldstein, who competes in the vault and bars for the Bears and holds career highs of 9.425 on both events. She was named the ECAC Scholar Athlete of the Year, and is just the third Brown gymnast in school history to receive that honor. Carver-Milne is also expecting Goldstein to compete in the floor exercise this season as well.

Junior Jessica Pestronk (Grand Blanc, MI) and sophomores Whitney Diederich (Naperville, IL), Rachel Foodman (San Diego, CA) and Jennifer Sobuta (Maynard, MA) will also play a big role for the Bears.

Pestronk became very consistent on the beam and floor last year, as she posted season highs of 9.675 and 9.525, respectively. Although she spent the first semester studying in Argentina, she is back at Brown and eager to get into the lineups.

Foodman, the Bears' most consistent performer on vault and floor, earned ECAC Specialist of the Week honors after earning personal bests in two strong back-to-back performances for the Bears against Cornell and Cortland last year. A hard-worker who competes two events for the Bears, Rachel has upgraded her skills in order to earn spots in the competitive Brown lineups

Diederich will be a regular in the beam and floor lineups, having added a new series on beam and upgraded her tumbling on the floor. Sobuta, who was one of Brown's top performers on the beam and vault last year, earned First Team All-Ivy Classic on the beam in 2006. This year, she is expected to compete in the all-around.

Joining the squad for the first time are freshman Alicia Sacramone (Winchester, MA), Stephanie Albert (Sanibel, FL), Izzy Kirkham-Lewitt (Venice, CA) and Alanna Kwoka (San Mateo, CA)

Sacramone, a member of the U.S. National Team, headlines the freshman class with three impressive years on the national and international stage. In 2005, she became the World Champion on the floor exercise and placed third on vault at the World Championships.

Most recently, she competed at the 2006 World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark, and brought home a silver medal for Team USA and an individual silver medal on the vault. As Team USA's captain, she competed in the vault, beam and floor in both preliminaries and team finals, hitting all of her routines during the championships. She became just the second U.S. woman to win a world silver medal on vault.

Albert, a four-year Level 10 competitor, qualified for the USAG Regional Championships seven times. Her top finish was at the 2004 Level 10 Junior Olympic Nationals where she placed sixth on the floor exercise and 24th in the all-around.

Kwoka, a four-time qualifier to the Level 10 Regional Championships, placed third on vault and 12th in the all-around at the 2006 Region I Championships. Rounding out the freshman class is Kirkham-Lewitt, who is also a Level 10 competitor who qualified for the Region I Championships in 2006.

Carver-Milne is excited about her young team that is featuring a lot of talent. She expects all four freshmen to compete all-around and thinks that they all have the potential to qualify for NCAA Regionals, as Sacramone will compete for a spot at the NCAA National Championships.

The Bears also finished ninth in the nation academically last season with a team GPA of 3.455. Eight Brown gymnasts earned individual academic NACGC/W honors by having GPAs above 3.5. They will continue to achieve in the classroom as well as in the gym this season.