Members of Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club stuck the landing in single digits at the Western Canada Gymnastics Championships in Saskatoon, Sask., on Thursday.
One came within a whisker of a medal in Level 4, the invitational division the four Polarettes competed in.
“We had some good successes and some disappointments,” said Polarettes head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “Overall I think it was a really wicked experience for everybody. It was really high-level gymnastics and it gave us a good idea what everyone else is doing in terms of skills and routines for Canada (Winter) Games next year.”
The Tsukahara – a half twist onto the vault followed by a back flip after leaving the vault table – is the newest vault in Megan Bank’s bag of tricks. It almost earned her a bronze.
Banks took fourth in the vault out of 17, missing the podium by 0.05 points.
“She was pretty choked by missing by so little a margin,” said O’Donovan.
Banks went on to place 16th all-around. She won a silver with the Tsukahara at the Twisters Invitational in Abbotsford, B.C. earlier this month.
Polarettes teammate Caitlyn Venasse landed seventh on vault, eighth on beam, en route to 12th all-around.
Whitehorse’s Anisa Albisser, the youngest on the travelling team at 12 years old, came ninth on bars and beam, 10th on vault and floor, for 11th all-around.
“She’s been booming as a gymnast in terms of getting skills,” said O’Donovan. “She went to westerns with the hardest routines out of all the girls … The success was that she went and competed and managed to do all her difficult routines and she ended up with the third highest difficulty score for her age category.”
Polarettes’ Reena Coyne has been struggling with a heel injury. She sat out the Twisters Invitational this month and had very little practice going into westerns.
She scratched from the floor competition and placed 12th on bars and 13th on vault and beam at westerns.
“She’s had very limited training for the last three weeks,” said O’Donovan. “She went to westerns with the go-ahead to start using her heels, but with no practices underneath her. So she had a rough meet. Mentally she was unprepared and physically she couldn’t handle it.”
Fayne O’Donovan, Yukon’s reigning Level 4 champion, was going to compete in
Level 5 but withdrew due to an ongoing struggle with an ankle injury.
All five Polarettes gymnasts are candidates for Yukon’s gymnastics team for the Canada Winter Games early next year in Prince George, B.C.
Banks and Albisser 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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