Greenwich gymnasts, led by De Jesus, claim two championships

MILFORD – For the second straight year, Adnerys De Jesus was absolutely fantastic in conference and state Class LL championship meets to lead the Greenwich gymnastics team to team titles.

Two weeks after she helped Greenwich defend its FCIAC championship, De Jesus had the highest score in three of the four events to lead the Cardinals to their second consecutive team championship at the 2017 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class LL Girls Gymnastics Championships on Feb. 25 at Pomperaug High School.

De Jesus had her highest scores of 9.6 while winning the vault and floor exercise, she also won by a comfortable margin on the uneven bars (9.4) and placed third on the balance beam (9.125). Although all-around scores were not officially tabulated, De Jesus’ four scores added up to 37.725.

Last year De Jesus totaled an all-around score of 38.575 with a high score of 9.725 on the floor exercise along with victories on the vault (9.7), uneven bars (9.6) and balance beam (9.55).

The Cardinals improved their team score this year from last year by 2.325 points and it was a good thing they did because fellow FCIAC member Trumbull is vastly improved from last year and Greenwich needed a higher score this year to hold off runner-up Trumbull.

This year Greenwich won with 142.575 points and Trumbull’s score of 140.7 was higher than Greenwich’s winning score of 140.25 at last year’s state Class LL championships.

This year the Cardinals also got some vital performances from Kelsey Fedorko, Gianna Cardini and Jessica Freiheit.

Fedorko placed second with a 9.35 on the balance beam and a 9.2 on the floor exercise, and she also had scores of 9.0 on the vault and 8.6 on the uneven bars. Cardini had a 9.05 on the vault, an 8.6 on the balance beam and an 8.5 on the floor exercise. Freiheit had a 9.0 on the balance beam, an 8.925 on the vault and an 8.525 on the floor exercise.

Samantha Markland led Trumbull as she won the balance beam with a 9.6 and also delivered strong performances on the vault (9.175), floor exercise (9.0) and uneven bars (8.6). Kate Burns placed second for the Eagles on the vault (9.2) and she also had scores of 8.95 on the floor exercise and 8.7 on the balance beam.

Also for Trumbull, Natalie Smerling had a 9.15 on the vault and an 8.95 on the floor exercise. Ashleigh Johnson had a 9.0 on the floor exercise and an 8.9 on the balance beam while Olivia Hogan had an 8.6 on the balance beam and an 8.575 on the vault.

The FCIAC swept the top three spots in the Class LL team scoring as Emerson Raymond, Claire DeMaso and Evelyn Hogarth helped lead FCIAC member Fairfield Ludlowe to third place with 132.2 points. Raymond had scores of 8.6 on the floor exercise and 8.5 on the vault. DeMaso had an 8.625 on the floor exercise while Hogarth had an 8.55 on the balance beam and an 8.5 on the floor exercise.

The CIAC Class M Gymnastics Championships also took place Feb. 25 at Pomperaug High School. Daniel Hand won that with 137.3 points and FCIAC member Darien placed second with 134.125.

Nicole Carlo had scores of 9.15 on the balance beam, 9.05 on the vault, 9.0 on the floor exercise and 8.5 on the uneven bars while Samantha Aparicio had scores of 9.175 on the balance beam, 9.075 on the floor exercise and 9.0 on the vault to lead Darien.

The CIAC State Open Gymnastics Championships take place at New Milford High School this Saturday at 10 a.m.

Woodstock Academy is an overwhelming favorite to win its sixth State Open considering that it had a most impressive score of 151.425 en route to fifth straight state Class S championship last week. It was a seventh straight state class championship for Woodstock Academy, which won Class M titles in 2011 and ’12. Last year Woodstock Academy won the State Open with 147.3 points and Greenwich was second with 140.4.

Greenwich’s Cardinals defended their FCIAC championship two weeks before the state class championship meets.

Last year De Jesus swept all four events en route to her all-around title to lead Greenwich to its first FCIAC girls gymnastics championship in 34 years.

And 364 days later that history repeated itself as De Jesus defended her all-around title by sweeping all four events again to lead the Cardinals to the defense of their team title on Feb. 11 at Jonathan Law High School.

De Jesus had some excellent supplemental support from Fedorko.

De Jesus and Fedorko went 1-2 in all four events – the vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise – to help Greenwich rack up 143.25 team points en route to a comfortable margin of 4.7 points over runner-up Trumbull, which finished with 138.55.

“We have worked so hard for this,” De Jesus said. “Our team has had a couple of injuries throughout the year, but we made sure when we got here we would defend the title. We wanted it so badly.”

Darien, last year’s runner-up, placed third with 133.35 points and was followed in the top five by Fairfield Ludlowe (132.8) and Wilton (131.15).

The same teams from last year’s top five were in this year’s top five.

This year Greenwich surpassed its winning total from last year by just .25 of a point. Last year the Cardinals won with 143 points, runner-up Darien had 135, Wilton placed third with 133.6, Ludlowe had 133.55 , and Trumbull was fifth with 130.95. So this year Trumbull’s Eagles improved by a significant total of 7.6 points to grab second place.

De Jesus, as usual, was her consistent, magnificent self in winning the all-around with 38.4 points, just 1/10th of a point shy of her gold medal all-around score of 38.5 last year.

This year De Jesus registered her highest score of 9.75 on the vault, which was Greenwich’s first event, so that gave the Cardinals the initial lead they would obviously never relinquish. De Jesus then wrapped up her all-around title with a 9.6 on the floor exercise after she won the uneven bars with a 9.5 and the balance beam with a 9.55.

Fedorko, who placed third in the all-around last year with a 36.55, was runner-up this year with a 36.45. She first finished in a three-way tie for second with Trumbull’s Markland and Burns on the vault with a 9.1. Fedorko then scored a 9.15 on the balance beam and a 9.1 on the uneven bars and vault, the events in which she was runner-up by herself.

Markland placed third in the all-around with a 35.85 as she also placed third on the uneven bars and floor exercise with identical 9.0 scores and she was fourth on the balance beam with an 8.75.

Last year Carlo of Darien and Smerling tied for fourth place in the all-around with a score of 34.9 and this year Carlo placed fourth with a 35.25 and Smerling was fifth with a 35.1.

Carlo placed third on the balance beam (8.8) and floor exercise (9.0 in a tie with Markland) and she was fourth on the uneven bars (8.8).

Smerling, in addition tying for second place on the vault, placed fifth on the uneven bars (8.75) and balance beam (8.7).

Also for Greenwich, Cardini placed fourth on the vault (8.95), she tied for fifth on the floor exercise (8.8), was sixth on the balance beam (8.6) and that enabled her to finish sixth all-around with a 34.75.

NOTES: Wilton still solidly holds the record of 16 FCIAC championships, keyed by nine consecutive conference crowns from 1983-91 and 13 of 15 from 1983-97. Darien is second with nine FCIAC championships and Greenwich’s Cardinals are now third with four, having won the conference’s first championship meet in 1978 and then getting their second title in 1982 before ending that 34-year drought last year. Trumbull, Westhill and Staples are the only other schools which have won FCIAC gymnastics championship as they all have three apiece.

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