The banners hanging on the gymnasium wall of the YWCA of Greenwich illustrates the success the Greenwich High School gymnastics team has enjoyed the past four seasons.
As displayed on the three banners, the Cardinals have won the Class L and FCIAC championships four consecutive seasons, while winning the State Open title once during that sparkling span.
Greenwich begins its season Jan. 10 with a meet against Norwalk and Staples and though the Cardinals will feature a new-look roster, they have once again set the bar high for themselves.
“I think we have a great team this year,” Cardinal senior tri-captain Celine Perrin said. “Everyone is very close and we have good energy, so if we keep this positive attitude, we are going to succeed.”
Greenwich’s roster includes seven freshman, five sophomores and three seniors. The Cardinals three top point scorers from last season — Kelsey Fedorko, Ellie Marino and Gianna Cardini each graduated.
“We are not as an experienced team as we have had in the past, with so many new freshmen,” GHS coach Sue Knight said. “But even though a lot of our gymnasts are young, they have experience, which is nice.”
After winning the team title at the FCIAC Championships with a score of 135.1 points, Greenwich claimed the Class L title (137.950) and was third in the team standings at the State Open (132.700) in 2019.
Perrin, senior Alexandra Trotman and senior Nika Sibley, all of whom were instrumental to the squad’s success last winter, bring experience to the Cards.
“I’m really excited to be a captain,” Sibley said. “I think the three of us can lead our team and help it come together. Our experience is really going to help, because we can show the freshmen the ropes and how the meets work and certain things they need to do. We’ll also support them when things get hard, so they will do better.”
Like all the captains, Trotman has played a significant role on the squad for several seasons. She began competing in the sport as a youngster and is a gymnast year-round at the Darien YMCA.
“Gymnastics has helped me step into a leadership position and it’s been really fun so far,” Trotman said. “I remember watching my older cousin compete as a kid and after watching her meet, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I tried out for a gymnastics class and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Unlike season’s past, each team must qualify for the FCIAC Championships — no longer will every team automatically qualify. St. Joseph and Stamford have teams this season, so since there are more squads in the FCIAC, approximately nine teams will earn a berth in the conference championships.
“I think this is going to be a fun year,” Knight said. “It’s a really good group of kids and I could tell already that they mesh well together.”
AT THE HELM: Knight is beginning her 29th season as coach of the Cardinals. She has guided GHS to four consecutive Class L championships and four straight FCIAC titles. Greenwich also won the State Open crown in 2018. Last season also saw the Cards place third at the State Open and finish fifth in the team standings at the New England Championships.
Serving as an assistant coach is Emily Clarke. For its success last season, Greenwich was named as an All-American team by the National High School Gymnastics Association. The Cardinals registered an average team score of 138.28 during the 2018-2019 regular season.
WHO’S GONE?: Fedorko, a four-year starter, earned NHSGA All-American honors in every event (vault, uneven bars, balance beam, floor exercise), as well as all-around last winter. A 2019 GHS graduate, Fedorko was a First Team All-FCIAC and All-State Team selection. She scored a 9.4 on the vault (second place), a 9.6 on the floor exercise (first place) and a 9.0 on the balance beam at the Class L finals. At the 2019 FCIAC Championships, Fedorko won three events and the all-around title.
Marino, also a 2019 graduate, also earned All-American honors in each event for the Cardinals. She scored a 9.2 on the vault at the Class L meet and and 8.9 in the floor exercise.
Cardini, who graduate last spring as well, was also a First Team All-FCIAC and All-State team selection, along with Marino. Cardini drew scores of 9.250 on the vault and 9.0 in the floor exercise at the 2019 Class L competition. Graduation also claimed Syrah Perrin, who helped the team in several events.
“It was a great four years for that group, they meant so much to our team and accomplished so much,” Knight said.
WHO’S BACK?: Perrin’s best event at last year’s Class L championships was the vault, earning a score of 9.2. She posted a score of 8.90 in the floor exercise and is an all-around competitor.
“My favorite event is the floor exercise, because I like tumbling a lot,” Perrin said. “Our goals are to take each meet day by day and focus on doing our best at practice and every meet.”
Trotman was sidelined a good portion of last season with an injury, but made a successful comeback. She drew solid scores on the uneven bars and balance beam at the class meet. Sibley and Trotman are also all-around gymnasts (competing in every event).
Sophomore Melanie Weiner is coming off a strong freshman campaign, as is Cameron O’Connell. Sophomores Eva Marder and Mei Luangkhot also return after producing solid seasons last winter.
NEWCOMERS: Freshmen Sophie Brachet, Isabelle Canale, Helena Holdsworth, Emma Kelly, Frances McKenzie, Nima Rahbar and Brooke Wallace and sophomore Beatriz Munoz are each beginning their first season on the squad. This group has a lot of potential.
STRENGTHS: “I really think floor and bars will be our strongest events,” Sibley said. “We are going to be able to score a lot of points.”
Perrin and Trotman should lead the Cardinals in several events, after excelling last season.
Said Trotman: “In the past, we have been strong on the floor. I have seen a lot of choreography and great routines and tumbling and I think it should continue.”
QUOTABLE: “It might be hard at the beginning, because we have a young team, but once we continuously practice and get better, we are going to do great,” Perrin said. “We as captains, want to make the team as close as possible in order to do our best.”