Gymnastics coach honored with AAU award

Published on Friday, 8 June 2018 21:28


BRISTOL - Jessica Morelli, a gymnastics coach affiliated with the Bristol Boys & Girls Club, has been recognized as the American Athletic Union (AAU) Gymnastics Coach of the Year. Her team will compete in the AAU’s nationals event in Florida July 27 through 30.

Morelli, who described her coaching style as “stern but fair,” was presented her award Monday night in West Haven at the 14th Annual AAU Awards Banquet.

“When I was told I would be receiving this award, I couldn’t believe it,” said Morelli. “I’m super appreciative and just super happy.”

In addition, three team members, Chloe Cyr, Alena Haur and Alison Sullivan were also recognized at the Banquet. Cyr and Haur received AAU scholarships from the Fran Wishart Scholarship, with Haur as the first place winner and Cyr as the runner up. Sullivan was given the “Most Dedicated” award.

Morelli has been coaching the Boys and Girls Club affiliated team since 2006. The team has been competing in AAU competitions for 15 years and has been to nationals four times. The team consists of 65 girls from Bristol and surrounding towns ranging from ages 7 to 18. The competitions are divided by age and by experience level, which is broken up into bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond with the diamond members as the most experienced.

Earlier this year, the bronze team took fourth place in the district and regional event. The silver and gold teams took first place in the district and regional competition. The platinum team took second place at the district competition and third place at the regional event.

“This year’s team has definitely accomplished a lot,” said Morelli. “They are super excited to go to nationals and they’re happy to see that their hard work has paid off. They practice three times a week and depending on which level they are at it can range from two-and-a-half to three hours.”

The nationals competition will be held in Tampa this year. Winners will receive AAU medals for their efforts. In a typical year, the team receives sponsorship from The Bristol Boys & Girls Club and around 20 community businesses and organizations. Morelli said that she is very grateful for their support.

Members of the team

. Julia Armington

. Gabriella Balboni

. Avery Braccia

. Samantha Caron

. Mia Caruso

. Paige Graff

. Olivia Grenier

. Alena Haur

. Caitlynn Jiantonio

. Nala Jones

. Tyjah Jones

. Deniz Jones-Torres

. Katie Kertesz

. Emma Kimball

. Aniela King

. Alivia Koch

. Gabriella Naranjo

. Peyton Parker

. Mackenzie Stemm

. Alison Sullivan

. Keelie Yorkhill

The following coaches support the girls:

. Dejah Holley

. Jessica Morelli

. Chloe Cyr

. Linda Brown

. Devyn Kangas

Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Friday, 8 June 2018 21:28. Updated: Friday, 8 June 2018 22:02.