STAMFORD — Despite riding three straight titles, the members of Greenwich’s gymnastics team did not have the level of assurance for today’s FCIAC championships that might have been expected.
There was reason for uneasiness. The Cardinals for the first time in four years started a season without Adnerys De Jesus, one of the best performers in league history, who graduated and is now competing for Nebraska.
Then there was the competition. Wilton was unbeaten since an opening loss and earlier this week handed Fairfield Ludlowe its first defeat. In that meet, both teams produced season-high scores.
But the Cardinals were undeterred. Led by Kelsey Fedorko, who won three events and the all-around title, Greenwich captured its fourth straight championship with a score of 135.1 points. The Falcons were second with a score of 133.9, followed by the Warriors (132.1). Fairfield Warde and Trumbull took fourth and fifth place, respectively.
“We were very nervous,” said Fedorko, who finished third in the all-around a year ago. “We were just trying to focus on ourselves, our own bodies and just our own team. We knew we had a lot of competition. I think this is very special because we had so much competition against us.”
Fedorko, who won the beam and vault, tied for first on the bars and was second in the floor exercise, finished with a score of 36.45. Ludlowe’s Ava Mancini, who tied Fedorko on the bars, took second place with a score of 35.95. Trumbull’s Merritt Stevenson (35.6) was third.
“Definitely my team helped me out a lot today,” Mancini said. “We were all motivating each other. On each event we did pretty well.”
Fedorko became the Cardinals’ leader this season and flourished in large part because of her consistency.
“I think my beam and floor I did pretty well on,” Fedorko said. “I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my whole team for doing so well today. We focused, kicked some butt and we won.”
Of her individual title, Fedorko added, “It’s amazing. I would never have dreamed this would happen until now. It’s unreal. I can’t believe it.”
Greenwich had a number of impressive performances. Ellie Marino had a pair of fifth-place finishes — for some reason the FCIAC considers ties as taking up one and not two positions in the standings — and ended up sixth over all. And coach Sue Knight said some of her other team members produced season-high scores for important points.
“I’m ecstatic,” Knight said. “The thought coming in was whoever stuck their routines, whoever stayed on beam was going to win. My girls had great routines today. They stuck them all. They all nailed it.”
The Falcons finished third last year and Mancini, a sophomore, displayed the skill sets that will make her a title contender the next two years.
“I’m very thrilled,” Mancini said. “We’re very happy with second place. We’ve gotten third for the last few years and this week we worked extremely hard to get where we needed to be. Even though we didn’t win we tried our best.”
The Warriors, who were fourth a year ago, got a first-place finish by Jessica Olin in the floor exercise.
The state tournaments will provide chances for both Ludlowe and Wilton to take on the Cardinals again.
“Without Adnerys it was very difficult but we had to keep practicing, keep focusing hard and just get our heads in shape,” Fedorko said. “I think we did an amazing job today.”