The loss of three stellar performers from last year's Darien gymnastics team will be difficult to make up, but the young guns on this year's squad seem unfazed by the challenge and are eager to make a statement in the FCIACs and beyond.
This year's 11-member team is comprised of only two seniors and one junior; the rest are either sophomores or freshmen.
The team feels the loss from last year of graduating seniors Katherine Mosher and Katie Southworth, both of whom were First Team All-FCIAC. The team also lost sophomore Lauren Chung, who was name Second Team All-FCIAC, and whose family moved from the area.
"We are confident about the season even though we have a very young team," senior captain Caroline Congdon said. "We are trying to maintain the skills we had last year and improve some. We are looking for every member of the team to contribute."
Congdon explained that anything can happen in any given meet.
"It always depends on what happens that day, whether it's a good day or bad day, but I would say we are in the running," Congdon said.
Second-year head coach Ellie Southworth agrees with her captain.
"The returning team has improved dramatically which is expected from the Darien YMCA gymnastics program," Southworth said. "I am looking forward to a solid and consistent season. This group of girls consistently improved over the year because they're all-year gymnasts."
Assistant captain Marya Von Schmidt, the team's other senior, added, "I think the new girls are going to make up for the loss. We're going to have fun, but we're going to try hard, too."
Aside from Congdon and Von Schmidt, Darien will look to solid performances from sophomore Kajsa Lundeen on floor and vault, and Sam Gunn on floor, vault and bars. Gunn was named All-FCIAC First Team last season and Lundeen received All-FCIAC honorable mention.
"Gunn is going to be our gun this year. I can already see the headlines," quipped Southworth.
The Wave finished second in FCIACs last year and sixth in the CIAC Class M state championship. Congdon said she hopes the team will at least maintain that or improve upon it. Darien last won the State championship in 2010.
As always, the matchup against Wilton will be circled on the schedule. Wilton claimed the FCIAC crown the past two years.
"They've traditionally been our biggest competition," Congdon said. The team also looks forward to facing Fairfield-Ludlowe and Staples.
Darien's home opener takes place Jan. 12 when it plays host to New Canaan and Westhill.