Ludlowe's Kelly Geiling caps gymnastics career with 1,000 point milestone
Kelly Geiling capped her career in extraordinary fashion. The senior captain for the Fairfield Ludlowe gymnastics team became a member of the 1,000-point club scoring 1,070.85 career points.
"It's great to get this milestone," Geiling said. "I scored a lot of points senior year to make sure I got it. I'm definitely happy with my career at Ludlowe. I loved doing gymnastics for my team. The team is so much fun and always had a positive attitude, which made it so much easier for me to perform."
Geiling was First Team All-State sophomore and senior years and was All-FCIAC all four years.
"I thought it was great," Geiling said. "Not many people get that many honors in high school and I was glad I was honored all four years."
She especially stepped it up this year and qualified for State Open in leading Ludlowe to fourth place at FCIACs.
"Kelly had the year of her life," Ludlowe Coach Kim Longobucco said. "She battled injuries and worked hard to come back from them. She deserves everything she got. She's one of the hardest workers I've coached and strives to get better all the time."
Freshman year, she stepped into the lineup as an all-around and was one of Ludlowe's top gymnasts.
"I remember not knowing what to expect as a freshman but when I was all-around in the first meet, I realized I was important to the team and that they needed my score," Geiling recalled.
Possessing poise contributed to her success in all four events.
"Competing is no big deal to me because I compete my whole life and I'm comfortable on the gymnastics floor," Geiling said.
Vault is her favorite event. She eclipsed a 9.0 in one meet by sticking her tuck.
"It's one of my strongest events," Geiling said. "I always loved vaulting and can spend a lot of time on it. I use my power to my advantage."
The balance beam is her second favorite routine. Her ability to stay on contributed to her success in the event.
"I don't let my nerves get to me and I stay focused throughout my routine," Geiling said. "I don't bobble and when I'm on the beam, I hope I don't fall. I practiced it so many times that I know where I am and know how to land my tricks so that I stay on."
She likes floor exercise almost as much as beam and, on floor, she combines power and grace in sticking her tumbling passes and dance moves. She prefers fast tempo music to soft dance music.
"My routine fits my personality and I'm able to perform it when I'm comfortable with my routine," Geiling said. "It allows my dance and tumbling to be that much better. I always have a lot of energy and a fast routine fits my personality."
Although the uneven bars isn't her favorite event, she still enjoys it and is proficient in it. For example, she placed at FCIACs on bars by taking sixth place.
"I like to keep it safe and I don't throw hard tricks on bars," Geiling said. "I know I can perform my tricks very well if I'm comfortable with them."
Life on the mat began for her in first grade, because her mom thought it would be good for her.
"My mom signed me up for classes because I have a lot of energy and I like to run," Geiling recalled. "It's my way of staying productive."
During the offseason, she performs for Lakewood-Trumbull YMCA.
"Doing club gymnastics year round keeps me in shape and makes high school gymnastics easier," Geiling said.
Geiling ably served the Falcons as captain and led by example through her work ethic and verbally by communicating well with her teammates.
"Kelly is a fabulous leader and a great communicator with the kids," Longobucco said. "She knows how to round up her teammates and get them focused on the task at hand."
"I really enjoyed being captain because we had a great team and everyone was easy to work with," Geiling said.
In addition to gymnastics, she dove for Ludlowe the past two years. She scored a 273.2 at the Class L championships in taking 17th place.
"Gymnastics got me into it," Geiling said. "I know a few gymnasts who dive in college because they are able to flip and diving is natural to me."
Speaking of colleges, she's undecided about where she will attend, but hopes to dive in college while majoring in physical education and kinesiology. She knows she'll have to improve her skills in order to make it as a college diver.
"I have to make sure I enjoy [diving] as much as I enjoy gymnastics," Geiling said. "[The enjoyment] plays a big role in my success."
Losing Geiling isn't easy for Longobucco.
"It's very hard to say goodbye to Kelly and I won't know what to do without her," she said. "It will be a major change for me not to have her around."
Although she won't compete in high school gymnastics again (her career at Lakewood isn't over yet), she might not be saying goodbye to it permanently. Currently, Geiling coaches at Fairfield County Gymnastics and hopes to coach at the high school level after graduating from college.
Geiling is confident that her knowledge of gymnastics will help thrive in her role as a coach.
"I've been through a lot of gyms and that will help," Geiling said. "I know what to look for in coaching and their strategies and I'll try to be that way."