Last year was the most successful in the history of the Fairfield Ludlowe gymnastics team when the Falcons were FCIAC runners-up to Wilton and third in Class L. Two gymnasts who qualified for the State Open all-around are back -- sophomore Nicole Huntsman, who placed 39th, and junior Perry Kindel (53rd) -- after earning first team All-State recognition a year ago.
Five other gymnasts earned conference honors aside from Huntsman and Kindel and could help Ludlowe improve on its 10-1 record from 2012-13.
Junior Jordan Feeney was first team all-conference and second team All-State, competing in all events except the uneven parallel bars at the Class L meet; junior Cate Seymour was second team All-FCIAC and qualified in the bars and beam in Class L; captain Annie Moeder, the lone senior on the Falcons, was first team all-conference and competed in the Class L beam and floor exercise; junior Charlotte Hill was second team All-FCIAC and competed in the Class L bars; junior Kate Palmer was honorable mention all-conference and made it to the Class L vault last winter.
"We are returning all of our scoring all-around (all four events) girls from last year," said fifth-year head coach Kim Longobucco, who brings a career record of 30-17 into the season opener on Jan. 4, 2014 at the Pomperaug Invitational in Southbury. "They are experienced and know what to expect in the FCIAC.
"We will need to really focus on bars and beam as far as consistency goes this year. The most important thing is that we are healthy (for the big meets) in February," Longobucco said.
Last year, Kindel won the all-around at the FCIAC Championships with a 35.5, with Huntsman (33.3) fourth and Feeney (32.3) in a tie for 11th.
Kindel finished first in the conference in the vault, beam and floor exercise, and tied for fifth on the bars. Huntsman was runner-up on the bars, Moeder tied for fifth on the floor, with Huntsman eighth and Feeney 10th on the floor.
Ludlowe meets Warde on Jan. 20 at the Gymnastics and Cheer Academy. The FCIAC meet is Feb. 15, with the state class meets on March 1 in Southbury. The State Open is the following week.