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Staples winter sports preview: Gymnastics

The Staples gymnastics team fielded an inexperienced group last season and still managed to accomplish several impressive feats.

A seasons worth of experience combined with the talent that returns should add up to a successful season for the Wreckers.

Staples placed fourth at FCIAC's and sixth at Class LL and has nearly its entire roster back at its disposal heading into the winter. Because of the recent success, the roster has doubled in size from last year to this. Head coach Kelsey Martin hopes to place in the top three at FCIAC's and top four at Class LL when the postseason rolls around.

"The key is accomplishing our goals is to stay focus, working hard and getting the highest difficulty in our routines while staying clean," Martin said. "We need to focus on bars and beam (staying on!). Our biggest factor is staying healthy.

Anna Violette placed in the top eight in the Bars, Vault and All-Around at FCIAC's and will lead an experienced group. Fellow senior Deanna Baris and junior Andrea Mahieu will also be leaned upon. Baris placed in the top six in the Vault and Floor Exercise.

Other contributors include Eliza Donovan, Margaret West, Kacey Hertan, Hannah Rose and Sophia Stanley.

Violette and Baris will serve as captains this winter and serve as model student-athletes both in and out of the gym.

"Anna and Deanna are strong gymnasts because they are determined and graceful," Martin said. "They do not let the pressure get to them; in fact they rise to the occasion. They have been incredible captains so far this year. They have really made Staples gymnastics a united team. They encourage the younger teammates and have helped them adapt to the high school rules."

Violette and Baris both qualified for the State Open last season and Martin hopes that at least four Wreckers qualify this year.

"The key this year is only six girls can compete on each event," Martin said. "Our team is very strong; we have to figure out were everyone fits into that puzzle. The returners look strong and the first years are the strongest I have seen in my four years. I look forward to an exceptional season with great results."

The Wreckers begin their season Dec. 19 against Greenwich and Weston. Staples meets perrenial powers Fairfield Ludlowe (Jan 6) and Wilton (Jan. 30) during the regular season.

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Ryan Lacey