GYMNASTICS Cardinals chase fourth title
Greenwich won the FCIAC gymnastics title in 2018 by an ultra-slim margin, edging runner-up Trumbull by .350 points and Saturday’s conference finals could be just as close, or even tighter, if possible.
The Cardinals, Wilton and Fairfield Ludlowe have each posted similar scores during the regular season and should be right in the running for the FCIAC title — which has been garnered by Greenwich the past three seasons.
“It is going to be a tough one,” GHS coach Sue Knight said. “The rankings did not come out yet for the FCIAC meet on Saturday, but just trying to calculate it, we may go in as the third seed. Ludlowe and Wilton are less than a point apart, everyone is so close this year.”
Greenwich, which won the State Open, Class L and FCIAC championships last winter, finished its regular season with a record of 6-2, its losses coming against Wilton and Darien.
“The team is doing great,” Knight said. “Like everyone, we’ve had to deal with little injuries, aches and pains throughout the year. But we feel great with where we are as a team heading into FCIACs.”
Senior Kelsey Fedorko, who is in the midst of her fourth sensational season on the squad, has embraced her leadership role as one of the captains. Last season’s FCIAC Championships saw Fedorko placed third on the balance beam with a score of 9.2 and finish third on the uneven bars (8.9).
“I feel good about FCIACs, we have some new skills that we are working on and hopefully that will make us do better at FCIACs, because going against some of the teams this year has been difficult,” Fedorko said. “We lost a couple of meets, but I think we have a good chance at Saturday’s meet. We just have to keep hoping, and keep working hard.”
Heading into Saturday’s conference championships, Fedorko is ranked first in the state in the balance beam event with a scoring average of 9.2625. She’s also ranked second in the vault (9.2000) and third in the state in the floor exercise (9.2625).
“The beam — it’s very scary, but I just try to focus on the beam and focus on the skills and once it’s over, I can let go of all that stress,” Fedorko said.
As for the stress that comes with trying to achieve a four-peat.
“I feel like there’s a lot of pressure on us to win four straight titles,” Fedorko said. “But we just have to get that out of our mind and keep working hard and keep doing as well as we have been doing.”
Gianna Cardini is a senior captain that’s also produced an impressive season.
“It’s pretty exciting to be one of the captains and a real big honor to be the leader of such a great team this year,” Cardini said.
Cardini has helped spark the Cards on the vault and bars.
“I’ve done pretty good on vault, even my bars have improved, which has always been a struggle for everyone, but this year we have improved a lot,” Cardini said. “This year is really close in the FCIAC, but if everyone stays calm and has some confidence we can nail routines and have no mistakes. I think it’s going to be a pretty tough meet, but I think we can pull it off.”
Knight is pleased with how her captains have guided the squad.
“Kelsey is continuing where she left off last year,” Knight said. “She is steady and consistent with all her routines and the girls look up to her a lot. Gianna has had a great season too, she tied her career-high with the beam recently. It’s been wonderful season for her.”
Ellie Marino, also a senior, has consistently earned high scores during her two years on the team. She placed third on the vault at last season’s FCIAC finals (9.3) and had the fifth-highest all-around score.
“I’m really excited for Saturday, we’ve worked really hard this whole year and I’ve seen a lot of improvement in everyone,” Marino said. “I’m really excited to see what the outcome is going to be.”
Marino has been especially effective on the beam this season.
“Beam has been my strongest event, I feel like I have been nailing all my routines so far and I’ve been improving as well,” Marino said. “I think it’s going to be a really tough competition, we are all close with our scores this year, so it’s definitely going to be tough.”
Junior Celine Perrin, who has been strong in her events, believes the experience of winning the FCIAC title the past three seasons will aid the Cardinals.
“Since we did so well last year, we want to do as well as we this year,” Perrin said. “It’s going to be really hard, because the competition is great, but we definitely know we can do it.”
Said junior Ali Trotman, who has also scored high in her events: “Winning last year gave us a lot of motivation going forward and we are going to use that motivation at FCIACs.”
Senior Syrah Perrin, junior Juliet Freiheit, sophomore Sydney Steele and freshmen Melanie Weiner, Cameron O’Carroll and Mei Luangkhot have also contributed to the Cardinals’ cause.
“We are definitely expecting a close call, but we just have to keep that out of our minds, keep a positive attitude and keep practicing,” Fedorko said.
Added Knight: “Saturday, we have to come in with solid routine, which the girls can do and not make many mistakes.”