STAMFORD — Holding a microscopic five-hundredths of a point lead over Trumbull heading its final event of Saturday’s FCIAC Gymnastics Championships — the floor exercise — two-time defending conference champion Greenwich was indeed in a pressure-packed situation.
Yet like a lot of teams with championship pedigrees, the Cardinals stood strong in the face of pressure and added to their collection of titles.
Outscoring a terrific Trumbull team by a small margin in the floor exercise, Greenwich reigned supreme again, winning the FCIAC title for the third consecutive season with a team score of 144.000 points at Westhill High School.
For the second straight year, Trumbull was the runner-up, posting a team score of 143.650 points, just .350 behind the champion Cardinals. Fairfield Ludlowe placed third in the team standings (136.00), followed by Wilton (134.100), Darien (128.500) and Staples (128.050).
“It feels amazing to win the FCIAC championship again,” Greenwich senior standout Adnerys De Jesus said. “We worked really hard for this, it wasn’t our best meet of the season but we’re just happy to come out on top again. The competition was very tough; Trumbull is an amazing team. They did very well and we are lucky to have gotten that win on the floor.”
Greenwich recorded 36.950 points in the floor exercise event, while Trumbull earned a score of 36.650. Both team’s gymnasts stuck their routines in the floor exercise. De Jesus won the event with a score of 9.65, while Trumbull senior Samantha Markland finished second (9.4) and GHS junior Kelsey Fedorko tied for third (9.3). Senior Natalie Smerling of Trumbull was fourth in the floor exercise (9.2) and Cardinals junior Ellie Marino took fifth (9.1).
“The pressure was on us to win our third title and our girls really handled the pressure well,” Cardinals coach Sue Knight said. “Everyone stuck their floor routine. We had a little trouble on the bars and beam, but we got it back on the floor. It was a great meet.”
De Jesus claimed the first-place medal on the vault with a career-high score of 9.9.
“I was so happy about that, I didn’t expect to get that type of score,” De Jesus said. “I’m glad I managed to get that score. I’m a little disappointed about my bars and beam, but it’s all about going to the gym and going over the basics. I’ll be back stronger at states.”
Markland finished in a second-place tie with Wilton junior Jessica Olin in the vault (9.4), followed by Marino (9.3), Fedorko (9.25) and Smerling (9.2). The bars title went to Markland, who earned a first-place score of 9.3.
“It was really nice to get out there and do my skills like I always do in the gym,” Markland said. “I feel really confident going into states. We were all pumped up today and this meet got us prepared for states and what to expect there.”
Olin finished with an all-around score of 35.350 and teammate Lilly Byrnes scored a 9.0 in the floor event for the Warriors.
“Jess is one of the top competitors out there and Lilly is one of the top freshmen in the state in the floor,” Wilton coach Gary Chadwick said. “We have no seniors on our team, so we have a young team that’s improving.”
De Jesus was second on the bars (9.2), while Fedorko (8.9) placed third, Olin took fourth (8.850), Marino finished fifth (8.8) and Smerling was sixth (8.750).
The Trumbull team passed a paper crown around for its teammates to wear whenever they stuck a routine on Saturday.
“I’m so proud of our team, they really pulled together and performed extremely well,” Trumbull coach Celina Huber said. “It was a close meet, we did awesome in each event and we’re looking forward to states.”
Markland was the FCIAC champion on the beam (9.4), with Fedorko finishing second (9.2) and Smerling and Merritt Stevenson of Trumbull tying for third (9.0). De Jesus was fourth in the beam (8.9). De Jesus had the meet’s top all-around score (37.650), while Markland had the second-best score (37.500). Fedorko’s was third in the all-around standings (36.650), while Marino was seventh (35.200) and junior Gianna Cardini was eighth (34.500) for GHS.
“I am most proud of our floor routine and beam,” Fedorko said. “We were cutting it close with Trumbull, but we pushed ourselves in the floor — it was very stressful. We had some struggles in some events, but we pulled through at the end.”
Said Cardini: “We really needed to have a strong floor and we did. We put so much effort into this, so if feels really good to win it the third year in a row.”
Ava Mancini (34.050 all-around score), Madison Cerny (33.300 all-around) and Georgia Sharpe (33.300) were Ludlowe’s top performers.
“I’m very happy we finished third, we were seeded third coming into the meet,” Ludlowe coach Kim Longobucco said. “This was our highest score of the season and our best meet of the season.”
Mary Fitton was Staples’ top scorer (33.250) and Tess Vincent was Warde’s best performer (33.200). Nicole Carlo (33.100) and Lana Schmidt (32.550) were Darien’s highest scorers, while Maya Manders (30.850) and Tetyana Banaryk (28.700) were the top scorers for Westhill and New Canaan, respectively.
The Class L championships takes place in two weeks and defending champion Greenwich and Trumbull will no doubt be in contention for the title.
“We’re so excited about states, we need to get in the gym and get ourselves together,” De Jesus said. “I’m glad we defended our title today and we’re looking forward to defending our title at states.”
FCIAC GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIP
Final team results and key
1. Greenwich (G) 144.000; 2. Trumbull (T) 143.650; 3. Fairfield Ludlowe (FL) 136.00; 4. Wilton (W) 134.100; 5. Darien 128.500; 6. Staples (S) 128.050; 7. Fairfield Warde (FW) 123.950; 8. New Canaan (NC) 112.750; 9. Westhill (Wh) 112.150.
Vault — 1. Adnerys De Jesus (G) 9.9; 2. Samantha Markland (T) and Jessica Olin (W) 9.4; 3, Elizabeth Marino (G) 9.3; 4. Kelsey Fedorko (G) 9.250; 5. Natalie Smerling (T) 9.2; 6. Merritt Stevenson (T) 9.1
Uneven bars — 1. Markland (T) 9.3; 2. De Jesus (G) 9.2; 3. Fedorko (G) 8.9; 4. Olin (W) 8.850; 5. Marino (G) 8.8; 6. Smerling (T) 8.750
Balance beam — 1. Markland (T) 9.4; 2. Fedorko (G) 9.2; 3. Smerling (T) 9.0 and Stevenson (T) 9.0; 4. De Jesus (G) 8.9; 5. Claire DeMaso (FL) 8.8; 6. Georgia Sharpe (FL) 8.6
Floor exercise — 1. De Jesus (G) 9.650; 2. Markland (T) 9.4; 3. Fedorko (G) and Olin (W) 9.3; 4. Smerling (T) 9.2; 5. Marino (G) 9.1; 6. Stevenson (T) 9.050.
All-around (Top six scores) — 1. De Jesus (G) 37.650; 2. Markland (T) 37.500; 3. Fedorko (G) 36.650; 4. Smerling (T) 36.150; 5. Stevenson (T) 35.750; 6. Olin (W) 35.350