Francesca Gionfriddo is having a freshman year to remember.
The first-year Glastonbury High School student had a successful diving season in the fall, finishing top-10 at the Class LL championship, and is now one of the top Guardians gymnasts this winter.
Through the team’s first two meets, Gionfriddo has been atop the leaderboard in both meets. She had a meet-best 8.6 in the floor exercise in a win over South Windsor on Jan. 15 and then topped that with a 9.0 floor routine in a win over Wethersfield on Jan 18.
“She is someone who is extremely reliable in practice and at meets. She is respectful towards her coaches as well as her teammates,” stated GHS head coach Yvette Sima. “Francesca is consistent and always positive. She is always looking for ways to better herself and her routines. She is a great role model and such a pleasure to coach.”
Despite being a freshman, Gionfriddo has plenty of experience prior to entering GHS. Her mom, Julia Gionfriddo, was a former gymnast and enrolled her daughter into the advanced sport when many kids are just learning to run.
“I got into gymnastics when I was 18 months old, so I have about 14 years of experience,” added Gionfriddo.
Her mom also dove at Trinity College, prompting her daughter to also pick up the water sport.
Both gymnastics and diving require strength, flexibility, and confidence. Gionfriddo said that the aerodynamics of the sport are similar too, which helps with training.
In the wins over South Windsor, Gionfriddo tied with sophomore teammate Macey Burns as the best all-around gymnasts as the Guardians won 125.65 - 113.45. Against Wethersfield, the young duo again finished in the top two spots as the Guardians won 133.75 - 91.15.
Her early success is a bit of a surprise for Gionfriddo. However, she was confident coming into the year, saying, “I knew I had a lot of experience with the sport and I have a passion for the sport, so that helps.”
Gionfriddo is part of an extremely talented group of freshman gymnasts, which includes Anna Edwards and Sydney Salazar.
Individually the group has excelled, but Gionfriddo said they thrive most when working as a team.
“The team aspect is the most important. It gives us that extra boost of confidence. It can be scary sometimes when you're up there in front of everyone, but they know how to make you comfortable because they understand it,” she said.
Gionfriddo has shined in both the floor exercise and the vault, which she says are her favorite events.
“I really like that you have to be powerful in the vault and with the floor you get to showcase your personality. You have the music aspect and really get to have fun with it,” said Gionfriddo. “I just really like doing what I love. You get to see other people smile, which is one of the most rewarding parts of the sport.”
Along with diving and gymnastics, she is also part of Model UN, DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America), and the Marine Environmental Science Club at GHS.
This spring she will be part of play lacrosse, making her a three-sport athlete at the high school.
Outside of sports, Gionfriddo enjoys skiing and traveling, along with playing the piano and viola.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin