Whitehorse Polarettes gymnasts essentially comprised Team Canada last weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A team of seven gymnasts from the club was the only from Canada at the Vegas Cup, Jan. 27-29, a huge meet with teams from across the U.S.
“It was a lot bigger than we were expecting, which was great to see. I’d say there were thousands of kids competing throughout the weekend,” said Polarettes head coach Kimberly Jones. “It was right in the hotel we were staying at — the Bally’s hotel — so that was a different experience for the kids. It was in the banquet centre and they’ve never competed in that environment before.
“People saw ‘Yukon, Canada’ on their back and (were) Googling them, talking to them about how cold it was in the North. It was pretty funny. The girls felt kind of special.”
It was the first time Polarettes attended the meet and they left their mark.
Emily King placed sixth all-around out of 12 in Junior Olympic Level 8 (JO8) senior A with a score of 35.025.
“That was a really big day for Emily because she hasn’t competed in all four events in over a year because of injuries,” said Jones. “So to come out and place sixth at a major event was pretty exciting for her.
“She finally got to compete at her capability level and show off her big skills that she’s had in the gym for a fair amount of time.”
King took seventh on beam, ninth on floor and 10th on bars.
She also performed a Tsukahara tuck on the vault for her first time in competition and placed fourth with a score of 9.150.
“It’s kind of a major moment in a gymnast’s career when they start doing those kinds of vaults,” said Jones.
Teammate Maude Molgat, last season’s JO6 Yukon champ, competed in JO7 for her first time. She placed ninth on beam en route to 12th all-around (32.775).
Ava Jampolsky finished ninth on floor and 10th on bars on her way to 12th all-around (33.750) in JO6 junior C.
Ella Baldy took 10th on floor to take 14th all-around (32.875) in JO 6 senior A.
“The highlight for Ava and Ella were their floor routines. They both broke a 9.000 on the floor, which at the beginning of the season when you haven’t competed in a while and are trying harder skills, is pretty good,” said Jones. “They both did great choreography, which is something we’ve been working a lot on at the gym — trying to get them out of their shells and really perform their routines.”
Despite being the first of the day to compete on beam — a situation that doesn’t often help with nerves — Sasha Kozmen took in her best result in the event with ninth. She went on to finish 13th all-around (32.925) in JO 7 junior A.
Polarette Lily Witten, competing in JO7 for her first time, placed took 15th all-around (29.300) in the junior A division with a 14th on the bars.
“Lily had the hardest day of everybody because she had to upgrade her skill level so much from last year,” said Jones. “She tried a lot of new skills. Actually, all the skills she upgraded were the ones she did best throughout the day, even though her scores don’t reflect that.”
Anna Gishler battled nerves and a nagging headache to place 16th all-around (31.475) in JO 6 senior A. Her best event was beam, taking 14th.
The trip to Vegas was the first of a few big outings planned for Polarettes gymnasts this season. The club will also send teams to Montreal and Calgary in the coming months.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com