Gymnastics: Despite losses, Wilton expects to be in FCIAC hunt

Despite graduating its top three performers from last year, the Wilton High gymnastics team expects to be among the favorites to win the FCIAC title once again this season.

The Warriors, who had their three-year reign as FCIAC champs ended last year, have eight gymnasts back and add two newcomers who will move into the rotation on several events.

“I think we’ll be okay,” said coach Gary Chadwick, whose team opens the season today at Westhill. “We don’t have a lot of depth this year, but we have quality kids. We should be in the mix again.”

In last year’s seniors Christina Brandt, Annie Saltarelli and Meghan Graham, Wilton graduated its top two performers on bars, floor and beam, and number-one performer on vault. Now, Chadwick is expecting the younger girls to step up and filled that void.

The team’s senior captain is Sara Posson, and the junior class features three veterans in Sam Farhi, Morgan Leddy and Riley Wadehra. Also back are four sophomores, Izzy Meltzer, Nicki Babkowski, Meredith Nash and Rebecca Poirier.

The Warriors’ newcomers are sophomore Alex Uriarte (who sat out last season with an injury) and freshman Catie Jones.

Posson is the team’s top returner on vault, after earning second team all-FCIAC honors last season, and will also be a key performer on floor.

Leddy is the team’s top returner on beam (earning honorable mention all-FCIAC) and also will compete on floor, bars and vault.

Wadehra, Meltzer and Farhi were all part of the bars rotation last season, with Meltzer earning second team all-FCIAC honors.

Meltzer will also compete on floor and beam this year. Farhi will also compete on beam, but at the moment is out of the floor rotation due to a hip injury. Last year she was second team all-FCIAC on floor.

Nash and Babkowski will again be among the team’s top performers on vault and floor.

Last year, Nash placed fourth on the floor at the FCIAC championships and was second team all-FCIAC on vault. She is also part of the beam rotation.

Babkowski was second team all-FCIAC on floor last season. At last year’s Class M state championships, she was Wilton’s top scorer on vault and floor. Unfortunately, the talented sophomore is currently sidelined with a strained Achilles tendon and won’t be back until the end of the month.

“We’re going to miss her the first month but hopefully, once we get to FCIACs and states, we’ll have her back,” said Chadwick.

The two newcomers should make an quick impact, with Uriarte competing on vault, bars and beam, and Jones competing on bars, beam and floor.

Chadwick said this year’s team doesn’t have the high scorers of years past (the only 9.0 routines right now are Nash and Babkowski on floor), but that should be offset by better scoring at the bottom end of the rotations.

“We don’t have any top guns, but we have quality through the top four positions. We’re probably five deep on every event,” he said. “We don’t drop off a lot.”

While it’s too soon to tell how things will shake out, Chadwick thinks Wilton will be among three or four teams vying for the FCIAC crown, along with Trumbull, Darien and defending champ Fairfield Ludlowe.

As long as the Warriors can avoid injuries, he said, they should be in good shape.

Notes: Wilton was 10-1 last season, finishing third at FCIACs and second at the Class M state championships.