Warde gymnasts earn FCIAC three-peat; Emma Johnson wins all-around championship

Fairfield-Warde won the 2023 FCIAC gymnastics championship.

FAIRFIELD – Fairfield Warde’s superb senior Emma Johnson won the all-around championship for the third consecutive year to lead the defending champion Mustangs to their second straight team title at the 2022-23 FCIAC Gymnastics Championships on Feb. 11 at Gymnastics and Cheerleading Academy.

Johnson won three of the four events and had an all-around score of 37.85 to earn the Ro Carlucci Award which is annually awarded to the all-around champion at the conference championship meet.

Fairfield Warde’s 24th-year coach Darcy Riehl had three of her gymnasts finish among the top five in the all-around, with junior Bailey Klein and senior Kaia Vadas placing third and fifth, respectively.

That enabled Fairfield Warde to rack up a team score of 139.5 points and win by 5.25 points over runner-up Wilton, which scored 134.25 points. Staples finished third with 132.67 points.

“The team did amazing,” Riehl said. “They are all very supportive of each other and it shows when they get out on the mat. They have been working hard and learning and maintaining their skills needed to compete at their personal highest level. We have a very well-rounded team.”

Johnson scored an amazing 9.625 to win the balance beam, and she also was victorious on the uneven bars (9.45) and floor exercise (9.3) and runner-up on the vault with a very good score of 9.475.

“Emma is an extremely dedicated and hard worker in the gym. Her focus is one of her best qualities during competition,” Riehl said. “Emma came into the meet very focused and ready to do her best. She is so much fun to watch when she is out on the floor. I am so proud of the job she did even though she wasn’t feeling 100 percent.”

Johnson could very well have swept all four events, given her vault performance, but Staples senior Mia Guster prevented that by excelling on the vault with a winning score of 9.6.

Johnson has certainly been a model of consistency while capturing the Ro Carlucci Award the last three years. She had a winning score of 36.9 two years ago as a sophomore and last year she won it with a 37.75 while helping the Mustangs capture the team championship with 142.8 points. Johnson’s winning score of 37.85 this year was 2.275 points more than the runner-up score of 35.575 achieved by Wilton sophomore Allison Rayment.

Rayment placed second on the uneven bars (8.65), third on both the vault (9.325) and balance beam (8.85), and sixth on the floor exercise (8.65).

Klein was runner-up on the balance beam (8.9) and she also scored an 8.85 on the vault and an 8.45 on the floor exercise to place third in the all-around with a 34.25.

Vadas placed fourth on both the balance beam and floor exercise with identical scores of 8.8 and that enabled her to finish fifth all-around with a 33.6.

“We have been very lucky to have the depth we have had over the last few years,” Riehl said. “Both Kaia and Bailey are a huge part of Warde’s success this year. We will miss Kaia next year. Bailey will be a senior. They both stepped up and posted the scores we needed to come out on top.”

Lainie Bliss contributed a score of 9.15 with her sixth place on the vault for Fairfield Warde, which scored 36.5 points in that event. That was easily the highest team score in any of the four events as Warde had the highest score in all of them.

Trumbull’s Ariana Sebourne placed sixth in the all-around with a 33.425, keyed by her fifth place on the vault (9.175).

Guster competed in three events, and she also placed second on the floor exercise (9.1) in addition to her victory on the vault.

The state class championship meets will take place on Feb. 25 at Jonathan Law High School in Milford, with the starting times of each meet yet to be announced. Fairfield Ludlowe is the defending state Class L champion.

The State Open is at Jonathan Law on March 4 at 10 a.m.

2022-23 FCIAC Gymnastics Championships results

Top 7 Team Scoring – 1. Fairfield Warde 139.5; 2. Wilton 134.25; 3. Staples 132.67; 4. Fairfield Ludlowe 130.67; 5. Darien 129.47; 6. Trumbull 126.82; 7. St. Joseph 124.82.

All-Around – 1. Emma Johnson (Warde) 37.85; 2. Allison Rayment (Wilton) 35.475; 3. Bailey Klein (Warde) 34.25; 4. Emma Senatore (Ludlowe) 34.25; 5. Kaia Vadas (Warde) 33.6; 6. Ariana Sebourne (Trumbull) 33.425.

Vault – 1. Mia Guster (Staples) 9.6; 2. Johnson (Warde) 9.475; 3. Rayment (Wilton) 9.325; 4. Julia Gove (Ludlowe) 9.3; 5. Sebourne (Trumbull) 9.175; 6. Lainie Bliss (Warde) 9.15.

Uneven Bars – 1. Johnson (Warde) 9.45; 2. Rayment (Wilton) 8.65; 3. Senatore (Ludlowe) 8.55; 4. Emma Kelly (Greenwich) 8.45; 5. Sarah Arango (Staples) 8.45; 6. Caitlin Benson (Ludlowe) 8.35.

Balance Beam – 1. Johnson (Warde) 9.625; 2. Klein (Warde) 8.9; 3. Rayment (Wilton) 8.85; 4. Vadas (Warde) 8.8; 5. Senatore (Ludlowe) 8.45; 6. Lexie Gonella (Darien) 8.25.

Floor Exercise – Johnson (Warde) 9.3; 2. Guster (Staples) 9.1; 3. Hannah Chuckas (Stamford) 8.9; 4. Vadas (8.8); 5. Sofia Alarcon-Frias (Staples) 8.75; 6. Rayment (Wilton) 8.65.

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