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Blue Wave gymnastics team concludes regular season by beating Staples

Published 2:56 pm, Thursday, February 9, 2012

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  • Staples' Emily Fishman competes on uneven bars during their gymnastics meet with Darien at Weston Middle School Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Photo: Autumn Driscoll / Connecticut Post
    Staples' Emily Fishman competes on uneven bars during their gymnastics meet with Darien at Weston Middle School Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012. Photo: Autumn Driscoll

 

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WESTON -- The Darien gymnastics team is heading into tomorrow's FCIAC championships on a high.

Darien finished the regular season at 11-1, 8-1 in the FCIAC, with a 134.3-131.75 road victory over Staples (9-6, 6-3) at Weston Middle School.

"We could have done a lot better, but we're doing fine," Blue Wave coach Ellie Southworth said. "Our top four gymnasts are in good shape. We hope to do well on Saturday [at the FCIAC championships at 11 a.m. at Jonathan Law in Milford], but Wilton will be difficult to beat."

Senior captains Katie Southworth (coach's daughter) and Katherine Mosher have been Darien's top gymnasts all year and Lauren Chung and Samantha Gunn have been close behind them as the next tier. The quartet has formed a strong nucleus and Tuesday's meet against the Wreckers wasn't an exception. Chung has especially been strong on the balance beam, in which Ellie Southworth calls her a beam specialist, and on vault. Gunn's strengths are mostly on the uneven bars, where she's very powerful, and floor exercise.

Against Staples, Mosher and Chung were tied for the team lead in top all-around scores with 33.85 points. Southworth (33.6) and Gunn (33.0) were close behind.

"I think it's great and I'm pleased with how our team is doing," Mosher said. "I think the girls are doing great, and considering with how young of a team we have, I couldn't be more pleased with what we've done."

Katie Southworth said, "My team came in with a positive attitude, and it helped because we faced less than desirable equipment."

Southworth's best event was bars (9.1).

"I've been performing consistently on bars," Southworth said. "I maintained my strength by doing sports in the offseason, and I became more aware of my body."

The younger Southworth swam sprinting events in the fall and will do the pole vault and sprints in outdoor track this spring. She also scored an 8.65 on vault, followed by an 8.55 on floor and a 7.3 on beam.

Mosher was consistent with all of her scores in the 8s with her best performance coming on vault (8.75) when she stuck her tsuke-pike.

"I've started a new vault since the summer, and I've been working on it," Mosher said. "It was one of my best scores this year on vault, and I'm happy about it."

Beam (8.5) was her next highest score, followed by floor (8.4) and bars (8.2). Mosher added a back tuck, back handspring connection on beam to go with a new jump series and new leap series this year, which has enhanced her routine.

"Unlike other years, beam has been my best event this year," Mosher said. "I love the fact it's my best routine. I'm confident with my skills and I'm trying to perfect them, and it's going well."

Similar to Mosher, all of Chung's scores were in the 8s. Her best routine was floor (8.8), followed by beam (8.5), vault (8.35) and bars (8.2).

Gunn's best event was floor (9.0), where she was phenomenal, followed by bars (8.5), vault (8.2) and beam (7.3).

Freshmen Kajsa Lundeen (7.55) and Sarah Petti (7.5) competed on vault, while classmate Julia Murray performed on bars (7.0).

For now, Darien is looking forward to FCIACs.

"We're expecting to come in second or third and we hope to score 135-7 points," Katie Southworth said.

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