What a difference a year makes for the Staples gymnastics team. After entering the FCIAC championship as the sixth seed and placing fifth last year, third-seeded Staples improved and maintained its seed by placing third with 121.8 points in the nine-team FCIAC field Saturday at Westhill.

"It feels good to finish third," Lady Wreckers Coach Kelsey Martin said. "We scored a lower than our average and we had a lot of falls but we pulled through and finished [the meet] well on vault."

Staples scored a 33.1 on vault, 31.75 on floor exercise, 28.3 on the uneven bars and a 27.85 on the balance beam. Freshman Anna Violette led Staples with an all-around score of 32 and finished ninth overall.

"I'm very excited about it," Violette said. "FCIACs is a very fun meet, it turned out well for me and I'm excited to improve."

Her best finish came on beam, where she scored a 7.8 and medaled by placing fourth overall. Moreover, she had no falls on beam.

"I'm very happy with my score on beam because it's not my favorite event," Violette said. "I was very nervous because my team had a rough start to beam but I made sure I was calm when I went on and I focused."

Although Violette's best placement was beam, her highest score was on floor where she tallied an 8.45 and finished tied for seventh.

"I was happy with my floor score," Violette said. "It was fun to compete and show them what I got on floor and it helped that everyone cheered me on."

Violette also did well on vault (8.25) and bars (7.5).

Freshman Lindsay Kiedaisch (30.2) placed 16th in the 77-gymnast field, second overall for the Lady Wreckers and medaled on beam (7.6) by placing tied for sixth. Kiedaisch had her highest score on vault (7.9) and hung tough on floor (7.5) and bars (7.2).

"It wasn't my best meet and it was different from the other meets I competed in," Kaidaisch said. "I was disappointed with my performance. I tried to stay calm with my nerves because I knew it would affect me."

She hopes to use this experience to motivate her for the State meet on Feb. 25 or 26.

"Now I know I have to perfect it for the state meet," Kiedaisch. "I'll put in 100 percent effort in practice because I want to do well at States."

Senior co-captain Zoe Heller (30.15) was slightly behind Kiedaisch and placed 17th overall. Heller scored an 8.4 on vault to finish tied for seventh, coming .05 short of medaling, a 7.05 on bars, a 6.6 on beam and an 8.1 on floor. Junior captain Emily Fishman (8.3-6.55-6.65-7.7-29.2) and classmate Morgan Cravenho (8.15-4.9-5.2-6.4-24.65) also competed all-around for Staples, placing 18th and 25th.

Junior Katie Blumenfeld competed on floor (7.5), beam (6.4) and bars (5.0) for the Lady Wreckers.

Staples has the 15th highest average in the state and is expected to qualify for States. The Lady Wreckers hope to learn from FCIACs and apply the lessons from it to States.

"We hope to add difficulty [to our routines] and clean things up for States," Martin said.