MERIDEN — Gymnastics has always been the only sport for Maloney freshman Jenessa Green.
The 14-year-old Meriden girl has trained at Connecticut Gymnastics Academy since the age of 7. These days, she’s an Xcel Platinum competitor at the Wallingford gym.
Green also wanted to compete in high school. Maloney, however, does not have a gymnastics team. Yet there was an option: a “team of one” with another high school program.
With the help of Maloney Athletic Director Bob McKee, Green was able to land a host. This winter, Green is competing with Wethersfield and she’s loving it.
“I enjoy it,” Green said this week. “I’m competing with a great team. It’s an honor to compete with them as a team of one.
“It was important for me do this; I had always done team competitions,” Green added. “I really wanted to represent my school and show them what I’m made of, what I'm capable of, even it was a team of one.”
Green competes alongside the Eagles at their meets and trains with CGA when not in competition.
Her parents, Rob and Jennifer Green, provide transportation to and from meets and they’ve been able to see Jenessa in action with the Wethersfield squad.
“She was initially supposed to compete with Conard, but they weren’t taking any students from out of the area,” Rob Green said. “Bob McKee made some calls around and Wethersfield was happy to take her. She’s excited to be representing Maloney.”
Green competes in the all-around. In her first meet, on Feb. 11, Green totaled a 34.0, highlighted by an 8.0 on vault and 7.9 on bars.
“I like vault because it’s quick and easy, and I like floor because I'm able to bring my personality out,” she said.
Green was a Level 6 gymnast at CGA before switching last year to the Xcel Platinum program, which is an alternative to the USA Gymnastics system.
Green has found it more fulfilling competing for a team, which goes hand in hand with her participation with Wethersfield.
Green is also adjusting well to the difference in judging from club to high school gymnastics.
“This has been such a positive experience,” Green said. “I love being a team of one.”
McKee said Green is the first team-of-one gymnast he can recall in his time at Maloney.
“Her mom reached out to me last year to see if something was possible for Jenessa because we didn’t offer a gymnastics team,” McKee said. “We reached out to a few schools, but COVID didn’t make it easy. Every school was putting policy into place. A lot of schools weren’t letting people in from outside of their schools. We reached out to Wethersfield and they were able to make it happen. We are grateful for Wethersfield for allowing this.”
“She’s a ball of energy,” McKee added. “She’s from a great family and is a great girl.”