Darien High School Gymnasts Place Third Twice This Week But Find Their Feet

Olivia Perkins gymnastics

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Olivia Perkins goes airborne in Darien.

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Darien gymnasts may have placed third in both their meets this week — but with overall scores of 130.9 at Trumbull and 131.5 at Saturday’s home meet, they still emerged victorious.

The team went up against St. Joseph High School and Trumbull High School a week ago Monday. Last Saturday they competed against Fairfield Warde and Fairfield Ludlowe.

— This article, by Holly Russell, is from the team.

“We went to the gym, we worked hard, and we went up by 9.7 points from our first meet at Pomperaug — that’s a big deal,” said Head Coach Judy Zakim on Monday.

On Saturday the team topped their Trumbull score by almost a half point with big improvements on bars and floor — which, Zakim said, “is what we needed to do.”

Top-scoring freshman Olivia Perkins and co-captain Lana Schmidt bumped their all-around Pomperaug scores higher by as much as two points or more.

Perkins hit 34.3 in Trumbull and at home, 35.05, with Schmidt racking up 34.2 and then a 33.5. Besting her all-around Pomperaug points by 3.6 on Saturday, sophomore Maggie Russell earned a strong 31.15.

“I see the girls working hard to save important tenths of a point in their routines,” Assistant Coach Jessica McKinney said.

Lana Schmidt gymnastics

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Lana Schmidt flips to success at the Next Dimension gym in Trumbull.

For team improvement, positive attitude, and flexibility about filling in gaps where needed, McKinney credited not only the all-arounders, including freshman Perkins, but the other freshmen, too — Abby Kissko on beam and vault and on bars, Mia MacDonald and Alex Decsi.

Memorable Blue Wave moments abounded this week. By Saturday, bar scores soared to a 30.1 total, with a 6.7 for Decsi and for MacDonald, a 6.9. A super flyaway earned sophomore Megan Cutler a 6.8. Russell, Schmidt, and Perkins swooped in with the rest.

Floor scores reached 33.55 on Saturday, including a balletic 7.9 for junior Lucy Collins, junior Lauren Grandon’s tuck jump, among other dramatic moves, for an 8, and sophomore Sommer Schmidt’s snappy 8.05-worthy back handsprings.

Olivia Perkins gymnastics

Contributed photo

Olivia Perkins goes airborne in Darien.

On beam the Wave did better Monday, scoring 33.5 versus Saturday’s 33.1 overall. Collins’s back walkover (8.1) was a highlight, also a switch leap from Perkins (8.7), and when Kissko (7.5) and co-captain Schmidt (8.7) stuck their dismounts. Sommer Schmidt’s fluid double back walkover did better Saturday (8.1), though, when Russell, too, was lighter on her feet (8.05).

Darien continued its vault power streak at both meets, earning 34.7 overall in Trumbull and a 34.6 at home. Kissko, Sommer Schmidt, and Grandon with a great half full — plus the all-around gymnasts — demonstrated height, speed, and good form across the springboard.

“Everyone seems a lot more confident this week,” said co-captain Kerry McDermott, still recovering from an injury but hoping to compete soon. ”We’re performing a lot better.”

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