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Saturday, March 24 Sports

Gymnastics readies for FCIACs

Over the course of the high school gymnastics season, Anne Tomaselli is ever-busy.

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Serving as a staff member in the New Canaan athletics department, the Rams' gymnastics coach and an FCIAC gymnastics chair, she hardly has a minute to spare.

However, this 2014 season, New Canaan gymnastics has been all about "hurry up and wait".

Led by sophomore captain Rachel Hardy, the Rams are a young group that worked hard to battle its way to a middling record in comparison to past years. In the coming season, it is expected that New Canaan gymnastics will grow into a very strong, all-around team. In the meantime, they must ready themselves for the top-tier competition of the 2014 FCIAC tournament, held this Saturday at 10:30 a.m. inside Westhill High School.

Unfortunately, the Rams will not be at full strength over the weekend due to injury and untimely family vacations. Nevertheless, Tomaselli maintains that the girls available will be prepared.

"Right now, we're working on the girls who have stepped up and want to take the open spots," Tomaselli said. "We're concentrating on getting their routines in place."

Hardy and Sarah Brindisi project to finish as the top all-around gymnasts for New Canaan, who only owns one team victory from their season opener against Darien. A few weeks following the win, Brindisi notched an 8.2 score on vault at Fairfield Ludlowe, where Fairfield Warde and Westhill also competed. Prior to that performance, she scored an impressive 8.5 on the floor at Wilton.

Due to injury, the Rams went without Hardy during the earlier parts of the season,. Then, they were very happy to see their captain come on strong late. The second-year gymnast recorded a 7.8 on vault and a 7.7 floor score at Greenwich on Jan. 30. Days earlier, Hardy had picked up her season-best on the balance beam against Fairfield Ludlowe with an even 6.0.

Freshmen Maura Kelly and Andrea Fallaque are the greatest reasons for optimism down the road, given their strong showings at the varsity level this year. Kelly scored a high of 7.2 on the vault against Greenwich and a 7.5 exactly one week ago at New Milford. Fallaque, on the other hand, is already the top Ram gymnast on the bars, as told by her coach.

The reasons behind their immediate success not only include the opportunity to perform in 2014, but the experience they gained long ago at lower levels.

"A lot of this team competed when they were young," Tomaselli explained. "They came away from gymnastics and then just needed to get reacquainted with their skills."

The New Canaan coach acknowledged that her team faces a steep climb this weekend to garnering a high finish. Trumbull, Wilton and Westhill all boast excellent teams, teams she believes will be separated at the top by the smallest of margins on Saturday.

Stepping back into her chairperson shoes, the New Canaan coach added "It's going to be a very exciting FCIACs this year."

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