Anna Gishler practices vaulting at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on Nov. 9, 2017. The club hosted the 2019 Yukon Gymnastics Championships on May 25 in Whitehorse. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

2019 Yukon Gymnastics Championships showcase Whitehorse talent

“It was a nice way to end off our season”

The Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted the 2019 Yukon Gymnastics Championships on May 25 at the club’s facility in Whitehorse.

Approximately 50 gymnasts were at the championships, competing in Junior Olympic levels one through nine.

Head coach Kimberly Jones said the meet was an excellent way to end the season.

“It was a nice way to end off our season,” said Jones. “For some of them it was their first time ever competing, so it was just a really good learning experience for them.”

Among the highlights on the day were the new skills demonstrated by coach Naomi Diaz’s group of gymnasts.

“It was really fun to watch (Naomi’s) group compete,” said Jones. “Almost all of them competed a round-off back handspring for the first time, which can be a really nerve-racking skill to learn, and all the girls were able to successfully compete that in their routines for the first time.”

Following the conclusion of the gymnastics, the club held an awards barbecue and recognized Mackenzie Tonner as the Yukon Gymnastics Athlete of the Year.

“We really felt she’s an overall amazing sport and had a great season,” explained Jones.

Tonner won first place all-around in her category at the B.C. Championships earlier this season, becoming the first Yukoner to do so.

“That was kind of a huge historical moment for us — to go to B.C. and win first all-around,” said Jones. “She was first year JO 6, so it was her first time competing. We were just going to have a good time and she ended up winning the competition.”

Tonner was also part of the contingent representing the club at L’International Gymnix in March, where Jones said she also did quite well.

The athlete of the year is selected not only by coaches, but by teammates as well.

“All of our athletes and our coaches voted Mackenzie as the lead spot for that,” said Jones. “It really shows just kind of the kid that she is. It was really obvious to everybody on the team that she was deserving of that award this year.”

Although the Yukon Championships are in the books, 13 Polarettes are travelling to Kelowna, B.C., for the Ogopogo Invitational from June 7 to 9.

The club is also holding tryouts for its fall competitive programs on June 11 in Whitehorse.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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