Fairfield's two rival public high school gymnastics teams each posted season-high team scores on Monday morning at the Gymnastics & Cheerleading Academy, where both teams train together, but Fairfield Ludlowe outscored Fairfield Warde in three of the four events to earn a 134.85-130.75 victory in an FCIAC meet.
The Mustangs narrowly outscored the Falcons on the balance beam by 34.85-34.65. But Ludllowe beat Warde by 35.3-34.05 on the vault, 31.4-29.3 on the bars and 33.5-32.55 on the floor exercise.
Ludlowe junior Perry Kindel, the 2013 FCIAC all-around champion, won the all-around on Monday with a 36.1, finishing first in the bars (8.5), beam (9.3) and floor exercise (9.1) while tying with teammate Nicole Huntsman, a sophomore, on the vault, each with a 9.2.
Huntsman's all-around, 34.75, was next highest in the competition -- which featured individual performers but no full teams from Shelton, St. Joseph and Masuk -- with Warde's Tori Gallati scoring 34.1, followed by Mustangs' teammates Kathleen Pisciotta (33.8) and Sophia Mancini (32.6).
Ludlowe improved its record against FCIAC teams to 3-1, while Warde's conference record dropped to 1-3. Mustangs' coach Darcy Appleby was quite pleased with her team's score. Falcons' coach Kim Longobucco liked her team's score but spoke about room for improvement in performance.
"We did not perform as well as we have in the past," Longobucco said, noting the Falcons were off, "kind of a little everywhere. We've been having two meets a week, with not much time for practice. The girls are getting a little tired.
"This is the middle of the season. It's time to put in new things and to perfect old ones," Longobucco said. "We're all working on increasing our start values (routine difficulty). That should be taking a couple of weeks to get into the swing of it."
Warde enjoyed a brief lead, through the first rotation of events when the Mustangs competed on the vault and the Falcons were on the bars. The team scores -- up to six gymnasts can be entered and the four highest are counted in each event-- at that point were 34.05 for Warde and 31.4 Ludlowe, a 2.65 lead for the Mustangs.
That advantage disappeared after the second rotation when Warde was on bars (29.3) and Ludlowe (35.3) performed on vault. That left the score in favor of the Falcons by 66.7 to 63.55, a lead of 3.15 points. Warde cut the deficit to 2.00 (100.2-98.2) after it was on the beam and Ludlowe on the floor, leaving Warde on the floor and Ludlowe on the beam to finish out the meet.
Warde's scores on the beam pleased Appleby as well as Gallati, Pisciotta and Mancini. "We did great on the beam today," Appleby said. Galllati said overall Warde did well, "especially on beam. We were a lot better than usual," she said. "We did not have as many falls." Pisciotta said: On the beam, "today, we did very well." Mancini said: "We started out strong (on the beam), and that set the tone for us today."
Unlike Warde-Ludlowe competition in perhaps some sports, there was little if any trash talking. The rivalry is friendly, Longobucco, Appleby, Gallati, Pisciotta and Mancini all said. Many of the rival gymnasts are teammates on club teams. Often opposing athletes could be heard rooting not only for their teammates but for members of the other team as well.
"Our start values are starting out higher than they have been," Appleby said.
Longobucco was impressed with Kindel's consistency. "This was one of, if not her best meet," Longobucco said. "She did a really good job. Nicole (Huntsman) had a pretty good meet. She had the other strongest (performance) for today.
"Warde did a great job," she said. "They had a good meet."
On Saturday, at the Darien YMCA, Darien defeated Warde 119-117.75.
firstname.lastname@example.org; 203-255-4561 ext. 113; twitter.com/ReidWalmark Ludlowe 134.85, Warde 130.75
Records: FL--3-1 FCIAC, FW--1-3 FCIAC.
Bars: FL--31.4 (Feeney 7.3, Seymour 7.5, Huntsman 8.1, Kindel 8.5); FW--29.3 (Kirstyn Lazor 6.7, Mancini 7.15, Pisciotta 7.6, Gallati 7.85).
Floor: FL--33.5 (Anne Moeder 7.7, Feeney 8.0, Huntsman 8.7, Kindel 9.1); FW--32.55 (Veronica Bennet 7.5, Mancini 8.05, Gallati 8.3, Pisciotta 8.7).
Vault: FL--35.3 (Kate Palmer 8.35, Feeney 8.55, Huntsman 9.2, Kindel 9.2); FW--34.05 (Lazor 8.25, Mancini 8.5, Pisciotta 8.5, Gallati 8.8).
All-around: Perry Kindel, Ludlowe: 36.1.