The Day's All-Area Gymnast of the Year: NFA's Trinity Ambruso

Apr. 21—The thing with gymnastics is that it's never perfect, no matter how much sweat is invested, no matter the expectations.

So when frustrations arise, as they generally will, Norwich Free Academy sophomore Trinity Ambruso needs to know how to coax herself out of a funk.

"One thing that my parents always tell me, they always say it's a marathon, not a sprint," Ambruso said, detailing a few of the talking points to herself. "I can't change what already happened in the meet. I just work harder so I can improve.

"No, I definitely do get frustrated. My parents (Mark and Bonnie, both educators and former athletes) are very wise people. They're my role models. They're both athletically very supportive. They always know what to say."

And that's what makes the victories so much sweeter.

Ambruso was the all-around State Open champion this season with a score of 37.5, giving her the victory by a margin of .225 over Trumbull's Kayla Algeri. That earned Ambruso the Connecticut High School Coaches' Association's Gymnast of the Year honor, which traditionally goes to the Open champ.

She won the balance beam competition at the meet with a 9.725 — who says there's no such thing as perfect? — and finished second on the floor exercise (9.35), second on vault (9.425) and fifth on uneven bars (9.0).

Ambruso was named The Day's 2024 All-Area Gymnast of the Year, receiving the honor for the second straight season.

She finished fourth all-around at the Eastern Connecticut Conference meet with a 36.1, but chose to look at the positive from that day at Thames Valley Academy of Gymnastics. Ambruso won the vault at the ECC meet with a score of 9.45. If she could win that, what she considers her least competitive event, she figured she could get back in the gym and fix the others.

Instead of beating herself up, she grew more confident, so much so that she flourished at the Class L state championship meet shortly after that. Although there is no individual competition at that meet — only teams are scored — she had the highest finish on every event for an all-around score of 38.4.

To begin the State Open, Ambruso was on beam, her strength. She was also grouped with a number of her friends from around the state.

"I was in the same group as them. It's nice to compete with them. I feel like I have teammates and we can cheer on each other," Ambruso said. "And we started on beam and beam is my favorite event. When I hit it, it just gave me that confidence boost.

"I was definitely very excited. I was just genuinely happy that I had a good meet and hit all my events. There were some ups and downs, but there were a lot of highlights."

To finish, Ambruso tied for second all-around in New England at 37.725, falling during her balance beam routine, but following that with a 9.575 on floor.

"When everything is stressful and there's a funk and you don't know how to get out of it, you need to focus on trying to love the sport," Ambruso said. "Not trying to be perfect."

Ambruso has undertaken something for the spring season which she deems "just for fun." She's pole vaulting for the NFA girls' track team, finishing fifth during Saturday's Wildcat Relays at Old Lyme with a leap of 8 feet. (Her personal best is 9-0).

She generally heads from track practice to her private gym for a gymnastics workout or from gymnastics to track.

With regard to gymnastics, she said if there's ever pressure on her, it's not from her coaches or parents, but rather self-inflicted. As a freshman, Ambruso won the New England balance beam title. Those are the standards she wants to continue to achieve.

"A couple meets I was kind of burnt out. I kind of needed a break. It showed at ECCs, but I learned to let it go," said Ambruso, who will now have one more meet in her club season, competing at Eastern Nationals in May.

"I want to focus on loving my sport. Everyone there is very talented; it often gets in peoples' heads. I need to do what I know how to do, end the season off strong. ... I know I love gymnastics. I need to let myself love my sport."

The Day's 2024 All-Area Gymnastics Team

Player of the Year — Trinity Ambruso (NFA)

Taylor Filosi (East Lyme co-op)

Olivia Gionet (East Lyme co-op)

Sylvi Otter (East Lyme co-op)

Capri Sferrazza (East Lyme co-op)

Kiely Voland (Fitch)