Greenwich gymnastics team captures FCIAC championship
Published 1:19 pm, Wednesday, February 17, 2016
MILFORD — As the regular season progressed and the victories piled up, it became clear to the Greenwich High School gymnastics team that this could be its breakthrough year. After finishing among the top five squads in the FCIAC for decades, the Cardinals became confident a long-awaited title was within their grasp.
Sophomore Adnerys De Jesus made sure the Cardinals grabbed the championship plaque.
The talented De Jesus was second to none Saturday and neither was Greenwich, which won the FCIAC title for the first time since the 1981-82 season with a team score of 143 at the 11-team conference championships at Jonathan Law High School. De Jesus claimed the FCIAC championship in all four events and was the all-around winner (38.500).
“It is very exciting to win the championship, we haven’t won it in a while, so this is definitely a big win for us,” De Jesus said. “I’m so proud of these girls for working so hard every day.”
“I am ecstatic, we really wanted this so bad,” Freiheit said. “Being undefeated, we knew we had to come in here very focused. Once we started to win our meets during the season, we thought that it was possible for us to win the title. If feels great, especially since the team hadn’t won the title in more than two decades.”
Darien, was the runner-up with a team score of 135, followed by Wilton (133.60), Fairfield Ludlowe (133.55) and Trumbull (130.95).
“The team performed very well, in fact, it was one of our best meets of the season,” Darien coach Judy Zakim said. “Everyone pulled together and had great success.”
The Blue Wave were led by captain Samantha Aparicio, who posted three second-place finishes, one third place finish and had the second-best all-around score (37.10).
“Our whole team did the best they could have done,” Aparico said. “We hit all of our routines and we were definitely stable throughout the meet.”
DeJesus won the vault, earning a career-high score of 9.7. Aparicio finished second (9.3), Fedorko was third (9.15) and Trumbull’s Natalie Smerling took fourth (9.1). Freiheit placed fifth (9.0), followed by Kate Burns of Trumbull (8.9). The top six finishers in each event were named First Team All-FCIAC.
“I definitely started off strong with one of my highest scores of the season on the vault,” De Jesus said. “I managed to calm my nerves and do well.”
Said Aparicio: “I wasn’t doing a great vault throughout the season, but I did it today, which was very exciting.”
Greenwich, which registered the highest score in each event, finished with 35.85 points on the vault. Aisling Brock also paced the Cards in the event, scoring an 8.0
“We had a really great day on the vault, which really helped us,” Freiheit said. “The vault is definitely my strongest event — it’s a confidence booster for me. As the meet went on, we had a good feel for how we were doing, but we had to stay focused.”
The uneven bars saw De Jesus execute her routine to near perfection in recording a winning score of 9.6. Aparicio was second on the bars (9.05), while Fedorko placed third (8.7). Smerling and Freiheit tied for fourth (8.65) and Nicole Kirven of St. Joseph took sixth (8.55).
“The bars was great for me, it was the second time I tried that routine, so fortunately, I was able to excel in it,” DeJesus said.
Fedorko rose to the important occasion for the Cards on the bars.
“Bars is my weakest event, but today I really tried hard to do well and I’m pretty proud of myself for what I did today,” Fedorko said.
On the beam, De Jesus earned a first-place score of 9.55 (career-high). Fedorko was the runner-up (9.3), Aparicio took third (9.25) and Nicole Carlo of Darien placed fourth (9.1). Kirven (8.7) and Melonie Chinnici of St. Joseph (8.5) were fifth and sixth, respectively.
“The beam is usually my best event, so I think I did pretty well in it,” Carlo said. “Our team goals going into states are to improve our scores on the vault and bars and continue to improve, overall, in both events.”
Staples placed sixth in the team standings (123), followed by New Canaan (119.90), Westhill (103.40), Warde (73.65), St. Joseph (67.45) and Stamford (33.35). De Jesus gave the Cardinals a victory in the floor exercise (9.65), Aparicio was second (9.50), followed by Fedorko (9.4), Nicole Huntsman of Ludlowe (9.3), Burns (9.0) and Kirven (8.95).
“Everyone loves watching Adnerys,” GHS coach Sue Knight said. “She has so much power and strength. Our team has been consistent all year long and they followed through today, which was amazing to see. They wanted the championship, they worked hard and they got it. This is a fun team to coach too.”
Fedorko (36.55), Smerling (34.90), Carlo (34.90) and Kirven (34.65) rounded out the top six all-around scorers.
“The attitude our team has was really helpful today,” Smerling said. “We went out with a positive attitude and did really well. At states, we have to put ourselves out there even more, try to stick every routine and place higher than we did today.”
With the FCIAC championship in its possession, GHS now turns its attention to the Class L finals.
“Hopefully, we can get top three,” Freiheit said. “Of course, we would like to be the No. 1 team. Woodstock is definitely up there and we will have to contend with them.”
FCIAC GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Team standings: Greenwich 143; Darien 135; Wilton 133.60; Ludlowe 133.550; Trumbull 130.95; Staples 123; New Canaan 119.90; Westhill 103.40; Warde 73.65; St. Joseph 67.45; Stamford 33.35
Vault — 1. Adnerys De Jesus (G) 9.7; 2. Samantha Aparicio (D) 9.3; 3. Kelsey Fedorko (G) 9.150; 4. Natalie Smerling (T) 9.1; 5. Jessica Freiheit (G) 9.0; 6. Kate Burns (T) 8.9; Bars — 1. De Jesus (G) 9.6; 2. Aparicio (D) 9.05; 3. Fedorko (G) 8.7; 4. Smerling (T) 8.65; Freiheit (G) 8.65; Nicole Kirven (SJ) 8.55; Beam — 1. De Jesus (G) 9.55; 2. Fedorko (G) 9.3; 3. Aparicio (D) 9.25; 4. Nicole Carlo (D) 9.1; 5. Kirven (SJ) 8.7; 6. Melonie Chinnici (SJ) 8.5; Floor exercise — 1. De Jesus (G) 9.65; 2. Aparicio (D) 9.5; 3. Fedorko (G) 9.4; 4. Nicole Huntsman (FL) 9.3; 5. Burns (T) 9.0; 6. Kirven (SJ) 8.95; All-around — 1. De Jesus (G) 38.50; 2. Aparicio (D) 37.100; 3. Fedorko (G) 36.50; 4. Natalie Smerling (T) 34.90; 4. Carlo (D) 34.90; 6. Kirven (SJ) 34.65.