The Greenwich High gymnastics team started the year with a battle of Fairfield and came away with a split to start 2013.On Friday, the Cardinals started the new year in grand style, beating Fairfield Warde High School, 116.5-114.5. However, against Fairfield Ludlowe on Monday night, the Lady Cardinals came up just short, falling 125-112.1 at the meet held at the Greenwich YWCA.
“It was a tough meet today,” Greenwich High head coach Sue Knight said. “Our goal tonight was to score 115, but it didn’t work out. We had a good meet on Friday and a lot of our team is sick right now, so they did well considering the circumstances. I think the girls put a big effort into doing their routines today without a practice and not being that healthy. They gave it 100%.”
Greenwich was led by its three standout gymnasts, Kat McCaffrey, Tori Mann and Emily Clarke. McCaffrey finished third overall in the all-around with 30.5 points. Her high score came on the beam and floor exercise, as she scored a 7.7 during each event. On the bars, McCaffrey finished with a 7.6 and she took a 7.5 on the vault.
“Kat is such a great gymnast,” Knight said. “Today she was a little off, but we all have our days. She finished strong on floor and beam. I am hoping Kat will make states and become one of the top 40 girls to make it to state opens. I think she could do it.”
Mann had another solid performance, finishing fourth in the all-around with a score of 29.1, Mann’s high point came on the bars, where she grabbed a score of 7.6. She also finished with a 7.4 on both the vault and floor exercise.
Rounding out Big Red’s top three finishers was Emily Clarke, who took home a score of 25.5. Her score of 7.9 was the best on the Cardinals by one-half point. She also took a 6.7 on the floor exercise.
“I think we did pretty well today,” Clarke said. “It’s only our third meet of the season and we are now going from meet to meet. It’s hard not practicing all the time, but I think we did well tonight.”
Although she didn’t score in the all-around, Greenwich’s Camille Monette had a stellar performance in the floor exercise, netting a score of 8.2, and was the lone Greenwich gymnast to score over an 8.0 on the evening. Monette also took part in the vaulting, netting a score of 6.4. She rounded out her day by picking up a 5.8 on the beam.
Victoria Houson did her part to help the team by scoring a 6.5 on the vault and a 6.8 on the floor exercise, while Bryany Brock took home a score of 6.8 on the vault and a 5.5 on the beam. Finishing up the scoring was Ellen Hebrand, who netted a score of 7.0 on the floor exercise.
“I think the team did pretty well today, considering it’s only our third meet,” Houson said. “Obviously a lot of teams are really tough competitors, so I think it was good for our team to see how the other girls are doing. It helps us see what we need to work on.”
The Falcons were led by the duo of Nicole Huntsman and Jordan Feeney, who dominated the competition. Huntsman was the all-around leader on the day, having three of her four scores above 8.0 and netting a score of 32.4. She took first on the floor with an 8.4, while also taking top honors on the beam with an 8.0.
Feeney also wasn’t going to be denied, finishing second in the all-around with a score of 30.85. She was second to teammate Perry Kindel (8.4) on the floor with an 8.3 and also grabbed a 7.9 on the vault. In addition to her high score on the floor, Kindel got the highest score of the night during the bars competition, netting an 8.85.
With the loss, Greenwich saw its record fall to 2-2 on the season. However, the Lady Cardinals had some better luck against the Mustangs on Friday, winning 116.45-114.5.
McCaffrey was the all-around leader of the day, finishing with a score of 32 and netting three high marks in the process. She also set a season-best score on both the vault and floor exercise.
McCaffrey took first in the bars with a score of 8.0 and followed that up with a leading score of 8.15 on the floor. On the beam, McCaffrey was one-half point better than the next highest finisher, netting a score of 7.8.
Not to be outdone was fellow GHS gymnast Mann, who took second in the all-around with a score of 30.7 and posted a season best in all events.
She finished second on the bars with a score of 7.8 and took third on the beam with a score of 7.1.
Fairfield Warde’s highest finisher was Tori Gallati, who finished third in the all-around and netted a score of 29.1. She tied Greenwich’s Emily Clarke on vault for the silver with a score of 8.2. Warde’s Sophia Mancini was the top finisher on the vault, scoring an 8.3.
Mancini also took second on the beam, picking up a score of 7.3, and just beat out GHS’s Mann, who took home a score of 7.1.
Greenwich had other solid performers on the day. Monette, who got a career best on both the vault and beam, finished with the silver on the floor exercise, picking up a score of 8.1.
Hebrand scored a 7.6 on the floor, while Alice Statham finished with a 6.0 on the beam. Greenwich teammate Brock finished the vault with a score of 7.5.
For the Mustangs, Mirstyn Lazor grabbed the bronze in the bars, netting a score of 6.8, while Kathleen Pisciotta took third on the floor with a score of 8.0. Joining Gallati on the vault was Carolyn Tagney, who finished third with a score of 8.1.
Although the Cardinals are currently sitting at .500 on the season, Knight is still pleased with her team’s performance through the early portion of the season.
“I think we need to improve on bars a little,” Knight said. “We need to make some changes here and there, but that comes as the season goes on. We need time to practice those connections. They are feeling more confident, which is great, and they are getting more comfortable as well.”
This year the team is led by senior co-captains Clarke and Houson.
“We are definitely trying to bring the team together more,” Clarke said. “We have a small team, so we are trying to make it as close as possible and become a family. I think we are working on things to up our score, but we are very happy, going from a 114 to a 116 in one meet. That’s a great improvement.”
“It’s a lot of fun to be a leader here,” Houson said. “We’re small, so we all know each other really well. We have a lot of team dinners and it’s a lot of fun. I love all the girls and we’re doing well. We have a tight core team this year and we’ve been improving all the time.”
In order to get her team into the state tournament, Knight knows that her team needs to consistently improve after each meet.
“We know that we can’t beat every team and know there are some powerhouse teams out there,” Knight said. “Most of my gymnasts are seasonal gymnasts. We want to improve, both individually and as a whole team, and also get more difficulty in our routines. As long as they improve, that would be great and they will be a winning team in my eyes.”