The Day's All-Area Gymnast of the Year: Old Lyme's Britney Detuzzi
Sometimes Britney Detuzzi will be riding in the back seat of the car, her mom, Kim, driving. And sometimes it will be so quiet that Kim will suddenly sneak a quick glance behind her to make sure her daughter is still there.
“She had two older sisters,” Kim Detuzzi said with a laugh. “I don’t think she started talking until she was three and a half. We were a little concerned.”
Yet in a gym, it is Britney Detuzzi, whether competing or coaching, who generates the buzz.
Detuzzi, a senior who competed for Old Lyme High School, is a four-time National High School Gymnastics Association All-American and an Academic All-American this season (with an average all-around score of 34 and a grade point average above 3.75). She is a three-time all-state selection and the all-around champion of the inaugural Shoreline Conference meet this season.
She is The Day’s 2019 All-Area Gymnast of the Year.
Britney Detuzzi is also a coach at ABC Shoreline Gymnastics, which is run by her mom. The "ABC," in fact, stands for the first letters of Kim Detuzzi’s daughters’ first names, Ashley, Britney and Courtney. The gym is often cacophonous; 3-6 year-olds make up ABC’s “Mini Stars” class and brothers and sisters of gymnasts waiting in a play area fly by intermittently on a rope swing.
Britney loves it there.
“She’s good working with the kids,” Kim Detuzzi said. “There are kids that are always asking for her, ‘Where’s Britney? Where’s Britney?’ She teaches her teammates, too.”
Detuzzi is a student at the Marine Science Magnet High School in Groton. The family lives in Old Lyme, where Britney competes for the Wildcats, a program formerly started by Kim Detuzzi. Kim Detuzzi serves as the Old Lyme head coach and the Wildcats practice and compete at the ABC Gymnastics venue, located on Industrial Park Road in Niantic.
This season, the diminutive Detuzzi, who stands 5 feet, placed first all-around in eight of 10 high school meets. She finished with an all-around total of 35.5 to win the Shoreline Conference title, also held at ABC. She won all four individual events, earning a 9.3 on vault, 8.5 on uneven bars, 8.6 on balance beam and 9.1 on floor, which she considers her best apparatus. Old Lyme won the team title with 124.9 points.
Detuzzi was ninth all-around at the State Open with a score of 34.75, highlighted by a third-place finish on the floor (9.3), and earned a trip to the New England Championship meet in Hudson, Massachusetts. She was Old Lyme's captain and Most Valuable Player.
"I never give up," Detuzzi said.
"She's really good. She's naturally talented. She's a hard worker," said Kim Detuzzi, who noted that Britney is good at improvising when necessary to get the maximum point value. "She's a good competitor. She'll pull something out ... and land it perfectly. She's smart that way. She enjoys it, she always enjoyed it."
It is somewhat bittersweet then that Detuzzi, who spends from 5:15-8:15 p.m. every day at ABC, even now, will compete for the final time in her career at the Senior National meet in Fort Myers, Florida, in May. Detuzzi will attend Salve Regina University next year in Newport, Rhode Island, a possible marketing major. She'll continue coaching at ABC, looks forward to it, but will cease competitive gymnastics.
"I'll be coaching all summer here," Detuzzi said. "I'll probably take freshman year off, come home on weekends, then sophomore year come back and forth. I just like coaching, to teach them everything I was taught. ... I just want to have fun. It's my last meet."
It's a sport that Kim Detuzzi began as a kid in Illinois, where she grew up a few doors down from a school which hosted an ongoing gymnastics class. At the age of 7 or 8, she would ride her bike there and watch, with the instructors using her to demonstrate moves.
"Gymnastics was my passion," Kim Detuzzi said. "(Britney) could do a pullover when she was 3 years old. They just grew up with it as a part of their lives. Even after all the competitions are over, Britney keeps improving her skill set and continues to work out just for the pure passion of being in the sport.
"It's not like she's not going to do gymnastics. At this point in life, she wants to get an education. She has other dreams."
The Day's 2019 All-Area Gymnastics Team
Player of the Year — Britney Detuzzi (Old Lyme)
Maria Denya (Old Lyme)
Lexi LaPerle (Ledyard)
Hanna Laskey (Stonington)
Lila Rich (Stonington)
Katya Torruella (Stonington)