Gymnastics: Freshmen shine as WHS bounces back from opening loss

Relying on so many freshmen, the Wilton High gymnastics team didn’t expect to burst out of the gate in top form. But the Warriors were able to bounce back from a disappointing loss in last week’s season opener with a solid victory over Staples on Tuesday at home.

The Warriors were nudged out by Fairfield Ludlowe last Thursday, also at home, 129.5 to 128.9, but did defeat Fairfield Warde, which scored 115.05.

On Tuesday, they raised their team score by nearly five points to trounce the Wreckers, 133.85 to 125.95, improving their record at 2-1.

“The biggest difference was the floor routine was much better and we didn’t have any falls on beam,” said head coach Gary Chadwick. “We did a better job on beam.”

Tuesday’s floor score of 34.55 was an improvement of 2.6 points over last Thursday’s meet.

The floor rotation was bolstered by the return of senior Nicki Babkowski, who had to sit out the opening meet. On Tuesday, Babkowski turned in the top floor routine with a 9.0 score. She was followed by senior Meredith Nash (8.6), freshman Kate Ginsburg (8.55) and freshmen Kayla Heber and Meg McNamara, both with 8.4s.

On beam, Wilton scored 33.3, which was an improvement of 1.25 points over the first meet. Nash led the way with an 8.5, with senior Alex Uriarte and freshman Carter Siegel both scoring 8.3s, and Ginsburg an 8.2, to round out the top four.

The Warriors had slight improvements on both vault and bars in the second meet.

On vault, they scored 33.4, an improvement of three-tenths of a point. Babkowski had the top performance with an 8.8, with the top four rounded out by Nash (8.3), sophomore Brooke Taffler (8.2) and Heber (8.1).

On bars, Wilton scored 32.6 on Tuesday, improving by eighth-tenths of a point over last week’s meet. Uriarte led the way with an 8.25, with Taffler (8.2), sophomore Alyssa Jarrett (8.1) and McNamara (8.05) adding to the scoring.

Given that so many ninth graders were making their high school debut, and without Babkowski on floor, Chadwick said, the Warriors’ score in last week’s meet (128.9) wasn’t too bad.

“We’ve got seven freshmen. Our routines are not as polished as they need to be, especially on floor. We did OK. We scored 129.5 in our opening meet last year,” he said. “We had two days of practice. (The freshmen) performed much better last night.”

The three freshmen performing on floor — Heber, McNamara and Ginsburg — improved their combined score by 2.3 points over last week’s first meet.

Another freshman, Marra Woodring, had led the Warriors on beam in the opening meet with an 8.2. Nash had the top scores on vault (8.5) and floor (8.45), while Uriarte led the way on bars with an 8.2

Results for Wilton at the two meets were:

Ludlowe 129.5, Wilton 128.9, Warde 115.05

VAULT (33.1) — Brooke Taffler (8.5), Meredith Nash (8.5), Nicki Babkowski (8.2), Carter Siegel (7.9), Kayla Heber (7.5), Taylor White (7.3);

BARS (31.8) — Alex Uriarte (8.2), Brooke Taffler (8.0), Meg McNamara (7.9), Alyssa Jarrett (7.7), Kate Ginsburg (7.5), Lauren Cooper (7.0);

BEAM (32.05) — Marra Woodring (8.2), Carter Siegel (8.05), Alex Uriarte (8.0), Kate Ginsburg (7.8), Meredith Nash (7.5), Alyssa Jarrett (7.0);

FLOOR (31.95) — Meredith Nash (8.45), Taylor White (8.0), Kate Ginsburg (7.9), Meg McNamara (7.6), Kayla Heber (7.55);

Wilton 133.85, Staples 125.95

VAULT (33.4) — Nicki Babkowski (8.8), Meredith Nash (8.3), Brooke Taffler (8.2), Kayla Heber (8.1), Carter Siegel (7.8), Taylor White (7.3);

BARS (32.6) — Alex Uriarte (8.25), Brooke Taffler (8.2), Meg McNamara (8.05), Alyssa Jarrett (8.1), Kate Ginsburg (7.5), Lauren Cooper (6.8);

BEAM (33.3) — Meredith Nash (8.5), Carter Siegel (8.3), Alex Uriarte (8.3), Kate Ginsburg (8.2), Alyssa Jarrett (7.5), Lauren Cooper (6.5);

FLOOR (34.55) — Nicki Babkowski (9.0), Meredith Nash (8.6), Kate Ginsburg (8.55), Meg McNamara (8.4), Kayla Heber (8.4), Taylor White (7.05).
— J.B. Cozens