Updated: Dec 2, 2021
ITHACA, N.Y. – Eight of the top gymnastics programs on the East Coast have joined together to form the Gymnastics East Conference, it was announced today. The GEC, an independent, gymnastics-only conference, will begin competition during the 2022 season, culminating in the first-ever conference championship meet on Saturday, March 19 in Providence, R.I.
The GEC will be composed of founding members Brown University, College of William & Mary, Cornell University, Southern Connecticut State University, University of Bridgeport, University of Pennsylvania, West Chester University and Yale University. Since the NCAA doesn't recognize division classification in gymnastics competition, the creation of a conference with regional Division I and Division II schools benefits all of the programs.
The championship meet will be held over two sessions, with qualifying teams 5-8 in the afternoon and teams ranked 1-4 competing in the evening based on National Qualifying Scores (NQS). This differs from previous unwieldy conference championship meets that included all teams in one session and incentivizes finishing in the top half of the conference standings.
The conference also introduced a logo, designed by Piard Design. The crest includes eight multi-colored ribbons and stars at the bottom, signifying each of the eight conference schools.
Piard Design is a creative agency that provides visual solutions across multiple platforms. The founders, Bill and Erin Piard, attended the University of Bridgeport and Erin was a member of the UB gymnastics team from 2010-2014. Their mission is to provide their clients with outstanding design, at an affordable price, through an exceptional experience.
WHAT THE COACHES HAVE TO SAY
"The formation of our new conference is thrilling, as it offers more competition, one of the largest gymnastics conferences in the country and epitomizes the excitement and growth of our sport in the NCAA. We will now have eight strong teams competing for the GEC title, allowing fans to enjoy two full meets in the same location on Conference Championship weekend."
Sara Carver-Milne, head coach at Brown University
"I am ecstatic to have the opportunity to add three schools to our conference. Creating the GEC will not only provide opportunities for our student-athletes, but will also enhance the fan experience."
Kelsey Hinton, head coach at William & Mary
"Cornell Gymnastics is thrilled to be a part of the newest gymnastics-only conference in the NCAA. The Gymnastics East Conference (GEC) will give us an opportunity to compete with seven other highly talented teams and strengthen the quality and depth of college gymnastics. All of these teams boast national level gymnasts who excel not only in the practice gym and on the competition floor, but in the classroom as well. We are anticipating a fantastic season and can't wait for the inaugural Gymnastics East Conference Championship in March 2022!"
Melanie Hall, head coach at Cornell University
"We're excited to be part of the GEC. It's going to be a challenge for us, but we're excited to compete against Division I opponents. Ultimately, it's great for the sport and for all of the institutions involved."
Byron Knox, head coach at Southern Connecticut State University
"The University of Bridgeport Gymnastics team is excited to join this independent conference. We are looking forward to providing our athletes with a competitive conference championship experience alongside several Division 1 universities. This will elevate the stage for our program and will provide our gymnasts with an additional opportunity to compete in a large meet in preparation for USAG National Championships. It is an honor to call ourselves one of the inaugural teams as a part of the GEC!"
Lorraine Galow, head coach at the University of Bridgeport
"I am thrilled for our team to be a part of this inaugural year in the GEC and for the years to come. We are anxious to kick the season off in just a few short months, looking ahead to a competitive conference championship!"
Kirsten Becker, head coach at the University of Pennsylvania
"West Chester university is so excited to be a part of this new conference. We have wanted to combine conferences with these eight schools for some time. We feel it will be a very competitive conference and really good for collegiate gymnastics!"
Barb Cordova, head coach at West Chester University
"Yale Gymnastics is so excited and honored to join the Gymnastics East Conference (GEC). This conference will boast the eight of the best teams throughout the northeast region, both academically and athletically, and we are thrilled to be competing alongside them in this inaugural season. The GEC will showcase an extremely high level group of amazing student athletes battling it out every weekend and we cannot wait to get back out on the competition floor this season."
Andrew Leis, head coach at Yale University