No clear favorite to win Saturday’s FCIAC gymnastics crown

FAIRFIELD – The 2021-22 FCIAC Gymnastics Championships this Saturday are expected to be exciting and entertaining with many excellent gymnasts and several quality upper-tier teams contending for the team title.

The meet begins Saturday morning at 11 o’clock at the Gymnastics and Cheerleading Academy in Fairfield.

Last year Fairfield Ludlowe successfully defended its conference team championship.

Emma Johnson, now a superb junior for Fairfield Warde, was last year’s recipient of the Ro Carlucci Award which is awarded to the all-around champion.

The top four teams all scored within 3.8 points of each other in last year’s FCIAC championship meet.

Fairfield Ludlowe won with 138.9 points, just 0.85 more of a point than runner-up Fairfield Warde (138.05). Trumbull placed third with 137.5 points, St. Joseph (135.1) was fourth and Wilton (134.55) completed the top five.

That kind of close competition for the team championship could very well occur once again this year.

Last year’s top four of Fairfield Ludlowe, Fairfield Warde, Trumbull, and St. Joseph are the four teams favored contend for this year’s team title.

“This is going to be a highly competitive team competition between the top four ranked spots,” said Kim Longobucco, the coach of Ludlowe’s two-time defending champion Falcons. “On a good day it could be anyone’s title this year. This is not a year with a clear favorite so it will be interesting to see who comes out as the 2022 FCIAC champions.”

Fairfield Warde has been particularly very good in the latter part of this regular season. The Mustangs have registered the conference’s two highest scores of the regular season. They got their highest score of 141.15 on Jan. 31, then a 139.1 two days later, and that gave them an average score of 139.02 in their three meets from Jan. 26-Feb. 2.

In addition to Johnson, the defending all-around champion from Warde, Johnson’s senior teammate Caroline Garrett, St. Joseph senior Lindsay Capobianco, Staples junior Mia Guster, and Wilton junior Olivia Mannino all performed very well in last year’s conference championships and are expected to be healthy and competing and primed for some more strong performances Saturday.

Johnson won the all-around last year with 36.9 points, keyed by her winning the balance beam (9.4) and floor exercise (9.2) and placing second on the uneven bars (9.15).

Capobianco placed third in the all-around (35.55) and balance beam (9.2) last year.

Guster won the vault (9.35) and was runner-up to Johnson on the floor exercise (9.15) in last year’s conference championship meet.

Mannino was fourth in the all-around last year with a 36.35.

Johnson, Garrett, Capobianco, Guster and Mannino were all selected to the 2020-21 All-FCIAC Gymnastics First Team.

Ava Manicini was a Ludlowe senior last year who was the all-around runner-up (36.35) and Tara Chomienne was another valuable Mustang who graduated.

Longobucco cited Ludlowe’s strong depth as the key to its championship last year and four valuable Falcons have returned. Ava Golding and Abigail Cerny made the All-FCIAC First Team last year, while Katie Torello and Emma Senatore were both selected to the All-FCIAC Second Team.

This year’s championship meet will allow a limited number of spectators, two people per athlete, and masks are required.

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