New Canaan gymnastics team members and coach Anne Tomaselli have high hopes for success this winter, and strong performances will have to come from a combination of returnees and new faces.
Last year, the Rams were ninth in the FCIAC, and tough competition stands to come from the likes of Trumbull, Wilton, Staples of Westport, Darien and Fairfield Ludlowe.
The team lost three competitors to graduation and returns only four gymnasts, but there is a lot more depth in the fold. The Rams will lean on the quick emergence of a large group of freshmen for success, but Tomaselli anticipates a stronger result in the conference this winter.
"We're going to give them a run for their money this year," the coach said. "My goal is to be top six, five or six."
Tomaselli notes that she is not yet aware of the skill levels of the competing teams, but bases her goals on things being equal to a year ago.
New Canaan has 15 team members, the most Tomaselli has had in 17 years of coaching.
"We have some very talented freshmen so we're very excited about this year," she said.
The captains are sophomore Rachel Hardy and junior Kayleigh Pace, both of whom were all around competitors last year. Other team members whom Tomaselli expects big things from are sophomore all-around participant Sara Brindisi, senior Raven Killinger and freshman Emma Korman.
"I'm really looking forward to it because last year we had a really small team," said Hardy, adding that the skill level and personalities across the board are strong. "They're not only good gymnasts but they're good people. We're really happy. The girls have really good potential and we're really excited."
The feeling surrounding the team is better than it has been in the past thanks to the increase in numbers.
"It's pretty great because there's so much talent," Pace said. "They're enthusiastic. I think this is going to be one of our best seasons yet."
Tomaselli says the team will make good use of the month of December as it prepares for its first meet, Jan. 3 against Wilton and Westhill of Stamford. The Rams will use the month to get the freshmen up to speed and lock their routines down.
"I'm so looking forward to this year. I'm really enjoying seeing the skill they have coming in, and their enthusiasm to learn new skills," Tomaselli said.