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Whistler gymnasts on top at home

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A cancellation and a snow storm kept the numbers down for the first zone meet ever hosted by Whistler Gymnastics, but for the local girls it was a treat to compete at home for a change, with friends and family looking on. The event was called High on Gymnastics, and was open to clubs from the Lower Mainland and Bowen Island.

"The gymnasts had fun competing and fun working the meet, and they were all pretty happy because they had so many medals," said Whistler Gymnastics program director Tami Ross.

"The coaches were all impressed. I think all of the athletes did something they’ve never done in practice before, or something a little better, in front of the home crowd, which is always encouraging."

Ross said she was particularly impressed with the Interclub athletes, who were competing in their first ever competition.

"They handled it really well, and we’re all looking forward to their next competition in Richmond."

Ross also thanked meet organizer Sheila Mozes, and said they have received positive feedback from other participating clubs and parents for hosting a well-run competition. Volunteer parents made it possible by transporting equipment to and from the club’s home at Myrtle Philip, running the concession stand, and pitching in everywhere they were needed.

She hasn’t added up the receipts yet, but Ross says the meet was held as a fundraiser for Whistler Gymnastics, and the proceeds will go towards new equipment for the club, as well as a fund to operate a full-time facility. With more than 150 gymnasts in the club, long waiting lists, and over a hundred other athletes in school and recreational programs, Whistler boasts one of the highest per capita gymnastics enrolments in the province.

The meet began on Saturday afternoon with a Zone Interclub Vault, Beam and Trampoline contest. The Interclub category is a recent addition to the competitive calendar, bridging the gap between recreational and competitive programs, and giving busy kids with other athletic commitments an opportunity to compete.

In the Flight B division for girls 12 and over, three Whistler girls took the overall gold, silver and bronze medals, edging out competitors from the Flicka, Pheonix and Bowen Island clubs.

Chantel Milan won the gold all around after taking the silver medal in both the vault and beam. Lonnie Wake won silver after finishing first on vault and fifth on beam, and Jenya Dudley took the bronze with a pair of third place finishes.

In the lower flights for girls 11 and under, all the competitors are awarded medals based on how they performed. Lucy Brown, Bianca Duval and Elianne Taillefer won gold and silver, Martina Cartner and Jocelyn Copan won two silvers, and Taylor Kelly and Taylor Laidlaw won gold and bronze medals.

The competitive teams faced off on Sunday, starting with the Level 1 Novice Girls. Michaela D’Artois won the gold medal with a score of 16.9, and Tegan Turcotte and Rebecca Pelletier of the Bowen Island club tied for second with scores of 16.8.

In the girls Kids In Progress (KIP) category, which also awards medals to every competitor, Rebecca Flyn led the way with a gold on vault and a silver on beam. Lenka Prochazka also finished with a gold and silver, but with slightly lower scores in the two events, and Desirae Smith was third for the club with a pair of silver medals. Emily Cankovic and Jasmin Budge also won two silver medals, and Shannon Macdonald won a gold and a bronze.

In the KIP 2 category, Amy Francis won gold and bronze and Alexandra Arcalean won silver and bronze.

In the Girl’s Zone Open category, Whistler’s Julia Murray finished second all around after winning silver on the vault and beam, while a pair of Pheonix gymnasts took the gold and bronze medals.

In the Level 1 Argo group., Ashlen Coombs won silver on vault and gold on beam to take the overall gold medal. Sonya D’Artois won the silver all around, taking gold on vault and silver on beam.

Competing against her teammates in the Level 1 Tyro group, Makinna Coombs won the all around gold with a silver on the vault and a gold on beam. She was followed by Jenny Higgins who was first on the vault and fifth on beam, and Riley McSkimming who was third on the vault and fourth on the beam.

In the Zone Tyro competition, which had almost a dozen competitors, Whistler’s Nicola Halliwell pulled out the bronze overall medal after winning the silver on vault and finishing sixth on the beam. Olivia Murray was fifth, Hilary Carrell was seventh, and Natasha Dudley was 10 th .

The Whistler Gymnastics Club’s competitive season continues on March 23 when the Level 2 provincial athletes take part in the annual North Shore Invitational.

For all of the parents who had children participating in the meet, photos are available at www.coastphoto.com/gymnastics

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