Members of the Polarettes Gymnastics Club literally vaulted to hardware over the weekend.
Gymnasts with the Whitehorse club won four medals, including a gold, on the vault at the Twisters Invitational in Abbotsford, B.C.
“I guess we’re turning into a little bit of a vault specialist team,” said Polarettes head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “Our vault was astounding. We ended up with four medals – a gold, a silver and two bronze – all in different categories. So that was really exciting for the girls. They were really thrilled.”
Polarette Matisse Robertson handsprung to gold in vault in the Level 2 tyro division. She also claimed seventh on the bars, and 19th in the beam and floor, for 18th all-around out of 19.
“Her gold wasn’t completely surprising to me. I’m sure it was to her because she always is the unassuming athlete,” said O’Donovan. “She’s a very strong vaulter.”
Teammate Megan took silver in the vault in the Level 4 open division. The 15-year-old also finished 12th on the floor for 16th all-around out of 19.
“She tried a new, really difficult vault that she just got a week before the competition, so getting a silver in that was incredibly thrilling for her,” said O’Donovan. “It was the first time her parents got to see her do that vault and maybe the fourth time she had done it completely by herself.”
Banks unleashed a Tsukahara for silver – a half twist onto the vault followed by a back flip after leaving the vault table.
“I feel pretty good because that was the first time I competed that vault and it was my first time competing in Level 4,” said Banks. “I was pretty happy.
“Before I was a little nervous about doing it, but I just pushed through. I thought, ‘I might as well doing because I’ve been practising it.’ After I felt pretty good about it, happy that I did it.”
Whitehorse’s Caitlyn Venasse came eighth on the floor on her way to 13th all-around in the same division.
Robyn Poulter took bronze on the vault, fourth on the bars and floor, for fifth all-around out of six in Level 2 open.
“Vault has always been a troubled event for her, so to get a bronze was amazing for her,” said O’Donovan. “She had a really clean vault that day.”
Bianca Berko-Malvasio made her first south-of-60 competition a memorable one. Berko-Malvasio snagged bronze on the vault, placed sixth on the bars, en route to 15th all-around out of 20 in Level 2 tyro.
“Bianca is really new; this was her first time competing outside of Whitehorse or Juneau,” said O’Donovan. “It was her first time bringing that vault up to a bigger scale and she placed in it no problem.”
Whitehorse teammate Anna Gishler came 18th on the vault and beam for 19th all-around in the same division.
Alexis Benson took 13th on the beam and placed 18th all-around in Level 2 tyro.
Emily King grabbed eighth on the beam, 10th on the bars, for ninth all-around in Level 3 tyro.
“She’s a bit of a beam specialist,” said O’Donovan. “She had one fall and unfortunately that cost her the silver.”
Polarettes’ Anisa Albisser finished sixth on the bars, floor and all-around in Level 4 tyro.
Sydney Cairns picked up 10th on the beam and 12th on the floor for 11th all-around in Level 3 novice.
“She didn’t get any top-eight placements, but she by far had the best competition out of all of our athletes,” said O’Donovan. “She hit all her routines, didn’t run into any trouble … She was the only one on the team to get her start-scores.”
Due to injuries, Polarette’s Reena Coyne did not compete and Fayne O’Donovan only competed in the vault and bars, taking seventh and 11th, in Level 4 open.
Banks, King, Albisser and Cairns all competed for Yukon in gymnastics at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games last month in Fairbanks, Alaska. They came away with a bronze in the team event.
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