Darien gymnasts leap into Pomperaug Invite
The Darien gymnasts sprang into action at the Pomperaug Invitational in Southbury on Saturday, placing seventh overall in a competitive field of eleven teams.
The Blue Wave came through with a team scored of 121.2.
Darien highlights included team co-captain and top-scorer Lana Schmidt rocking a double back handspring on beam (8.85), a blur-of-power front handspring full off on vault (8.9), and a twist back handspring back layout combination on floor (8.1) that earned her second, fourth, and ninth place, respectively. She scored 33.05 points to take sixth place in the all-around competition.
Coming on strong in her first meet for Darien, freshman Olivia Perkins scored 32.7 to finish seventh all around. That included a a jaw-dropping tsuk that scored a 9.0 and brought her third place on vault. She was also sixthon bars (8.5) with two “big swing” giants.
Sophomore Maggie Russell filled out the awards with a super-strong half-on, half-off that gave her an eighth-place (8.55) vault finish.
“I’m very impressed by our freshmen’s performance at their first high school meet,” Darien coach Judy Zakim said. “And the rest of the team put in a solid effort. Now we know what we need to work on.”
Wave co-captain Kerry McDermott was sidelined with an injury and was unable to compete, but she kept her teammates upbeat and positive during the nearly five-hour meet.
“It’s exciting to be here,” McDermott said. “I can’t wait to get back to competing.”
Freshmen Mia MacDonald and Alex Decsi, along with sophomores Russell and Megan Cutler turned in fine scores on bars, while Schmidt swung a 7.2 that, along with Perkin’s 8.5, contributed to the team total.
Though some falls on beam brought tense moments, the athletes rallied. Freshman Abby Kissko earned a clean 6.6 for her back tuck dismount; Russell maintained her poise; and junior Lucy Collins’s calmly executed a switch leap split jump for a 6.85 score. Sophomore Sommer Schmidt scored a 7.75 that, added to sister Lana Schmidt’s 8.85 and Perkins’s 7.6, racked up even more points.
Darien dominated the vault. Junior Lauren Grandon’s 8.0 half half, half full; Sommer Schmidt’s 7.8; and Kissko’s 7.9 gave a boost to Russell, Lana Schmidt and Perkins’s scores.
Floor was a tougher round, competition-wise, but the team stayed graceful with Collins’s smooth front handsprings and Sommer Schmidt’s jazzy moves. Russell and Grandon, whose layout highlighted her routine, also helped for points before Perkins and Schmidt brought it home.
“The girls have been working very hard,” Zakim said. “And they’re off to a good start.”