Trumbull gymnastics earns championship triple crown

It was quite the remarkable season in which these talented gymnasts secured their legacy of being members of the greatest Trumbull High School gymnastics team ever.

There can be no debate about that after the way the Eagles excelled and earned themselves their Triple Crown season by winning the team title at three postseason championship meets.

Trumbull never won a state championship going into this 2023-24 season. That is no longer true.

Within a span of eight days in late February and early March, coach Cathy McMahon’s Eagles landed two state championship plaques on the desk of athletic director Mike King for him to deliver to the school’s trophy case to add to the FCIAC championship they previously won.

Trumbull won the 2024 Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference Class L Girls Gymnastics Championships to secure that first state championship on Feb. 24. That Class L crown occurred two weeks after the Eagles won the FCIAC championship and a week before they won the CIAC Gymnastics State Open on March 2.

And it wasn’t just that the Eagles won, but it was how they won. They did that rather impressively, winning by wide margins in the first two postseason championship meets.

Coach McMahon said her team was the total package in terms of having it all. Although several Eagles were underclassmen, they have experience as gymnasts from getting involved in the sport at a very young age. So, the Eagles had that experience, ability, and that necessary drive and commitment to success. Another vital trait that McMahon especially loved about her young ladies was the great team camaraderie.

“Each and every one of these girls have contributed to the success, whether it was actually going out and competing or cheering each other on,” McMahon said. “If one of the girls were having a bad day, another girl would pick up the slack, or just lean in and talk to that gymnast to help her feel better.

“They were a team,” McMahon added. “They were the Trumbull gymnastics team.”

So dominant were the Eagles in winning their first state championship that they had four gymnasts place among the top six in all-around scores to win that Class L meet by 10.85 points.

The top three teams in the state Class L championships were from the FCIAC.

Trumbull won with an excellent score 144.225 points. Fairfield Ludlowe placed second with 133.375 and Staples took third with 132.325. Southington placed fourth with 126.7 points and Norwich Free Academy completed the top five with 130.350.

Trumbull sophomore Kayla Algeri was excellent throughout the postseason while leading this tight group of gymnasts. Algeri got her great postseason going by winning the Ro Carlucci Award which is annually given to the all-around champion at the FCIAC Gymnastics Championships.

Algeri was the runner-up all-arounder at the Class L state championship meet with a score of 37.675 points while leading a quartet of Eagles who finished in places 2-through-6 in the all-around. Trumbull’s top three gymnasts placed among the top four.

Freshman Mikayla Kouble had an all-around score of 36.325 to place third, junior Ana Pepin was fourth with a 35.425, and junior Grace Rizzo was that fourth Eagle in the top six as she placed sixth with a 34.6.

Two sophomores and a freshman had the three highest all-around scores at the state Class L championships.

Norwich Free Academy sophomore Trinity Ambruso swept all four events to win the all-around with a score of 38.4 and Algeri placed second to her in all four events.

Ambruso won the vault with a 9.5, the uneven bars with a 9.6, the balance beam with a 9.7, and the floor exercise with a 9.6.

Algeri had her highest score of 9.6 on the balance beam and her other runner-up scores were 9.5 on the uneven bars, 9.325 on the vault, and 9.25 on the floor exercise.

Kouble placed third on the balance beam (9.5), fourth on the uneven bars (8.95), and fifth on the vault (9.125) and floor exercise (8.75).

Pepin was third on the floor exercise (8.95), fourth on the vault (9.175), and fifth on the balance beam. Rizzo placed third on the vault (9.3) and tied for fourth on the floor exercise (8.85). Trumbull’s Ariana Sebourne was fifth on the vault (8.975).

The FCIAC had five of the top six all-around gymnasts at the Class L state championships as Fairfield Ludlowe freshman Sarah Smeraglino placed fifth with a 34.765. She and her senior teammate, Emma Senatore, led the Falcons to second place. Smeraglino was third on the uneven bars (9.0) and fourth on the balance beam (9.175), and Senatore placed fifth on the uneven bars (8.825).

Sarah Arango of Staples was sixth on the uneven bars (8.65) and Darien’s Avery Hanson placed sixth on the balance beam (9.0).

A week later Trumbull’s Eagles again performed very well to add that State Open team championship.

And they had to do just that to beat defending champion Daniel Hand, which had just won its third consecutive Class S state championship on Feb. 24 with 140.275 points.

The Eagles’ winning team score of 141.2 may have been 3.05 points less than their Class L meet score of 144.225, but it was still good enough that it was 1.375 points higher than Daniel Hand’s runner-up score of 139.825. Ellington/Tolland (136.55) placed third and Killingly (134.325) was fourth.

Algeri excelled yet again with scores of 9.45 on the vault, 9.375 on the uneven bars and balance beam, and a 9.075 on the floor exercise for a total of 37.65. Some other top Trumbull performances were supplied by Pepin with a 9.225 on the vault and a 9.05 on the balance beam, Rizzo with a 9.25 on the vault, and Sara Renda with a 9.0 on the vault.

“This team never gave up,” McMahon said. “They were fighters. They were winners. They came into the gym and worked hard. The questions they would always ask me is: What can I do to make my routines better and to be able to score higher. That is the best quality of a successful team.

“The success on the team was they wanted to do better. They wanted to win,” McMahon continued. “Don’t get me wrong, we came into the gym and had our fun. But they know when it was time to work routines it was time to work and perfect our skills, which means doing routine after routine, sometimes falling but getting back up and doing it again.”

The Eagles embarked on their Triple Crown postseason by winning the FCIAC Gymnastics Championship for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2014. Trumbull defended its conference championship in 2007.

Trumbull scored 141.9 points to win the FCIAC championship by 5.65 points over runner-up Fairfield Ludlowe (136.25). Staples placed third with 132.25 points and was followed by Darien (129.05), fifth-place Wilton (127.9), Fairfield Warde (122.7), and Greenwich (108.25).

Algeri won three of the four events while getting her winning all-around score of 36.2. She won the uneven bars with a score of 9.45 and she also won the balance beam (9.3) and floor exercise (9.25).

Kouble was the all-around runner-up with a 35.85 as she placed second on the uneven bars, third on the vault, fourth on the balance beam, and fifth on the floor exercise.

Smeraglino placed third in the all-around (35.5). She was runner-up on the floor exercise (9.2), just 0.05 of a point less than Algeri’s winning score, and Smeraglino was also third on the balance beam and sixth on the vault.

Senatore finished fourth in the all-around with a 35.15 while Pepin of Trumbull and Danbury’s Ruby Hill tied for fifth place with a 35.05. Wilton’s Allison Rayment, who won the vault with a 9.25, placed sixth in the all-around with a 34.3.

The top 12 all-around scores and top six scores in each event at the FCIAC Gymnastics Championships are listed below:

2024 FCIAC Championships

All-Around: 1. Kayla Algeri, Trumbull 141.9, 2. Mikayla Kouble, Trumbull, 35.85; 3. Sarah Smeraglino, Fairfield Ludlowe, 35.5; 4. Emma SenatorE, Fairfield Ludlowe, 35.15; 5. Ruby Hill, Danbury, and Ana Pepin, Trumbull, tied, 35.05; 6. Allison Rayment, Wilton, 34.3; 7. Grace Rizzo, Trumbull, 34.2; 8. Caitlin Benson, Fairfield Ludlowe, 33.75; 9. Avery Hanson, Darien, 33.6; 10. Hanna Bitsky, Staples, 32.95; 11. Sarah Arango, Staples, 32.75; 12. Kayla Koproski, Darien, 32.6.

Vault: 1. Rayment, 9.25; 2. Pepin, 9.15; 3. Kouble, 9.05; 4. Laine Bliss, Fairfield Warde, and Rizzo tied, 9.0; 5. Senatore, 8.9; 6. Smeraglino, 8.85.

Uneven Bars: 1. Algeri, 9.45; 2. Kouble, 8.9; 3. Senatore, 8.85; 4. Pepin, 8.8; 5. Hill, 89.75; 6. Rayment, 8.7.

Balance Beam: 1. Algeri, 9.3; 2. Hill, 9.2; 3. Smeraglino, 9.15; 4. Kouble, 9.05; 5. Benson, 8.7; 6. Senatore and Hanson tied, 8.6.

Floor Exercise: 1. Algeri, 9.25; 2. Smeraglino, 9.2; 3. Rayment, 9.0; 4. Rizzo, 8.9; 5. Kouble, 8.85; 6. Senatore, 8.8.

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