Gymnastics preview: Falcons see some growth

The Joel Barlow High gymnastics team is set to start its second season of competition this week. Pictured from left are Krista Ganim, Alex Jones, Lucy Whitehouse, coach Keith Jackson, Julianne Debellis, Kylie Rizzo, Allison Cusick and Gia Tuccinardi. Missing is Kaitlyn Hirsch.

After setting the foundation last season the Joel Barlow High gymnastics team appears to be in good shape to building on it in 2012-13.

Barlow, which fielded a team for the first time in 19 years, is not only more experienced as it prepares to start a new season. It is also slightly bigger in terms of numbers.

Under the guidance of new head coach Keith Jackson the Falcons will continue to do some building for the future. They also hope to have some fun along the way.

“They have to like what they’re doing,” said Jackson. “Scoring well and all, that comes along with it.”

A longtime coach in the area, Jackson was a former assistant coach at Zero Gravity Gymnastics in Danbury. At Barlow he succeeds Doug Southworth, who guided the Falcons in their inaugural season and also coached at Zero Gravity.

As a first-year program a year ago the Falcons actually saw some success. Posting a 4-8 record, they also finished fifth out of seven teams at the South-West Conference finals.

While the season has not officially started yet the Falcons already seemed poised for more success. All of their gymnasts are back this season.

Barlow will also be a more mature team with two seniors. These include co-captains Kylie Rizzo and Lucy Whitehouse.

An all-around gymnast, Rizzo will compete on the vault, balance beam, uneven bars and floor. Whitehouse also has much experience and will compete on the floor, beam and vault.

From the junior class is Julianne DiBellis, also an all-round gymnast and an All-SWC second team selection last season. Classmate Alex Jones, who is also back, will compete on the beam, floor and vault.

Junior Allison Cusick brings experienced to the vault and the uneven bars. New additions to the team are Krista Ganim, Kaitlyn Hirsch and Gia Tuccinardi.

The Falcons start the season today (Thursday) when they visit Greenwich and also take on Staples at 6 p.m.

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