WILTON — Practice is necessary. But in girls gymnastics, athletes need to be out on stage.
Displaying their talents. And seeing how routines work in an atmosphere of competition.
Defending Class L champion Greenwich High School and defending Class M champ Wilton High School got their first looks at each other’s 2019 squads Friday night at Wilton’s cozy gymnastics-only cathedral.
As expected, the matchup went down to the wire as Greenwich came away with a slim 129.8-129.55 triumph over the host Warriors.
The result should be tempered by the fact it was the second meet for Greenwich (2-0) but the season opener for Wilton (0-1).
“The idea of having a season-opening meet before Christmas was an idea Greenwich and Staples hit upon a few years ago,” said Greenwich veteran coach Sue Knight. “And we’ve come to love it. We like getting back into the swing of things before Christmas.”
One factor that was made clear Friday was that both Greenwich and Wilton will be side-by-side when the postseason battles for FCIAC and State Open championship banners arrive.
Both the Cardinals and the Warriors have solid returning corps this season along with the prerequisite group of newcomers to fit into the mix.
Greenwich’s senior group of Kelsey Fedorko, Gianna Cardini, Ellie Marino and Syrah Perrin has embraced the challenge of carrying on after the graduation of State Open vaulting, bars and all-around champion Adnerys DeJesus.
On Friday, Fedorko took first place on bars, beam and the all-around (36.35 points). Cardini (33.85) was third in all-around.
“Kelsey (Fedorko) is such a solid gymnast,” GHS coach Knight said. “Overall, we did very well. Our freshmen got some first time varsity meet experience. At this point though, we’re sorting out the unknowns.”
Pacing the Wilton effort was senior Jessica Olin, who played a big role in Wilton’s 2018 Class M title won with a seniorless roster.
On Friday, Olin captured vaulting (9.5) and floor exercise (9.4) on her way to a runner-up finish (34.85) in all-around.
“Jessica’s vault is greatly improved from last season. Her 9.5 score is very close to our school record in the event,” said Wilton’s veteran coach Gary Chadwick. “I like our veteran corps as well as our newcomers who are gaining meet experience.”
For Wilton, Lily Byrnes took third place at 8.7 on floor exercise.
“It’s a long way to the end of the season. We started slow last year. So to keep this meet as close as we did is a great sign,” Chadwick said. “We have plenty of talent. A lot of options in different events. And I like the effort level of the entire group.”
VAULTING (Top 3 overall): 1, Jessica Olin (Wilton) 9.5; 2, Kelsey Fedorko (G) 9.3; 3, Ellie Marino (G) 9.1.
UNEVEN BARS: 1, Kelsey Fedorko (G) 8.5; 2, Jessica Olin (W) 7.6; 3, Gianna Cardini (G) 7.45.
BALANCE BEAM: 1, Kelsey Fedorko (G) 9.3; 2, Gianna Cardini (G) 8.65; 3, Ellie Marino (G) 8.4.
FLOOR EXERCISE: 1, Jessica Olin (W) 9.40; 2, Kelsey Fedorko (G) 9.25; 3, Lily Byrnes (W) 8.7.
ALL-AROUND: 1, Kelsey Fedorko (G) 36.35 points; 2, Jessica Olin (W) 34.85; 3, Gianna Cardini (G) 33.85; 4, Ellie Marino (G) 31.3.
Records: Greenwich 2-0, Wilton 0-1.