New coach eyes similar results
After former head coach Dick Filbert’s 28-year reign ended, a time where he led the Tigers to 14 Eastern College Athletic Conference championships, the Towson gymnastics program needed new command.
This summer, former director of athletics Mike Hermann announced that Vicki Chliszczyk would be the new head coach of the program.
Chliszczyk was an assistant coach at the University of Maryland last year and is taking on the first head-coaching job of her career.
In her last season with the University of Maryland, Chliszczyk was named the Eastern Atlantic Gymnastics League Assistant Coach of the Year and proved she was ready to take on a head coaching position.
“My goal was always to be the head coach of a Division 1 program,” Chliszczyk said. “This is a dream come true for me.”
Last year for Towson, Alise McDonald and Jackie Schweitzer were both key performers and led the Tigers to their sixth consecutive ECAC championship. Competing in their final championship, McDonald placed first on the vault and in all around competition. She also recorded a third place finish on the floor exercise with a score of 9.800.
Schweitzer got a second place finish on the bars and sixth on the balance beam.
Bringing in five freshmen will be a great challenge in Chliszczyk’s first year as head coach.
However, former coaches Dick and Lynda Filbert recruited the newcomers, so Chliszczyk said she feels that they will have no problem adapting to college competition and living up to expectations.
“The team has a good leader in Megan Wooten, as a senior, and in the other captain, Avis Hixon,” Chliszczyk said. “They have a strong junior class, along with Emily Hill, who is another senior that can step up that can lead us on the team. I think the incoming freshmen will be able to come in and replace the routines that we lost with [in] Alise and Jackie.”
This is no doubt the start of a new era in Towson gymnastics.
Chliszczyk is only the fourth head coach in Towson gymnastics 43-year history. Chliszczyk says that although the coaching staff might have changed and there may be a difference in coaching styles, her expectations are still the same.
“My expectation is to continue to build on past success. The goal is to win conference championships again, but on a bigger scale. We are looking to climb up the national ladder. The short term, long term goal is to get up in that top 36 teams in the nation.”
With the return of gymnasts such as Kacy Catanzaro, Hixon and Hill, the season looks promising.
Last year, Hill placed sixth on bars at the ECAC championships. Hixon placed third on the bars and finished fifth with her floor routine at the championships. Catanzaro placed fifth on the vault.