Polarettes stick the landing in Alberta

The vault was a particularly good event for Whitehorse's Polarettes Gymnastics Club last weekend. Of the 10 Whitehorse gymnasts, five medaled in the event at the On the Edge Invite in Airdrie, Alta.

The vault was a particularly good event for Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club last weekend.

Of the 10 Whitehorse gymnasts, five medaled in the event at the On the Edge Invite in Airdrie, Alta.

“We had some good vault results,” said Polarettes head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “Vault was a strong event for us.

“Everyone had a really solid meet,” she added. “There were a few little misses, which will always happen.”

Polarettes Maggie Fekete, Jasmine Bergeron and Matisse Robertson competed in Level 2 Tyro, one of the largest divisions with 18 competitors.

Robertson placed 14th overall, but improved her standing considerably with a second-place finish on her specialty, the vault.

“That’s a big one because she’s a really new competitor and it was her first time coming out of the Yukon to compete,” said O’Donovan. “She’s not a very confident or experienced gymnast, so we were really excited for that result for her on vault.

“She did a handspring. The reason she got the silver is she’s quite powerful. A good amount of explosion or energy off the vault is what they are looking for. She has a lot of raw power.”

Bergeron tied for sixth on the vault and fifth on floor to place 13th. Fekete tied for 11th on the vault and 11th on the beam for 17th overall.

Caitlyn Venasse claimed first place overall in Level 3 Open with wins in the vault – completing a handspring with a 360 twist – and on the beam.

“She tends to be our beam specialist … The vault was a little unexpected because that’s not always her strongest,” said Catherine.

Polarettes teammate Megan Banks placed third out of three competitors in Level 3 Open, but was second in the vault and the beam.

Fayne O’Donovan, who won a gold on the vault at last year’s B.C. Artistic Gymnastics Championships, was golden again over the weekend in Level 3 Novice.

Fayne won gold on the vault, but placed eighth (last) overall, unable to compete in two events due to an ankle injury. It is the remnant of an injury that almost kept her from competing at the Arctic Winter Games last year.

“She has a bit of a nerve disorder in her ankle now as a result of that injury,” said Catherine. “She hasn’t done floor or beam since last June. Actually, she hadn’t vaulted since last June – that was just her second day vaulting. So we weren’t expecting a medal on that event, so it was awesome she got gold.”

Teammate Reena Coyne, also in Level 3 Novice, placed fourth overall with third on the uneven bars for her highest placement.

“She had an awesome meet,” said Catherine. “She was really disappointed with fourth – fourth is the most frustrating position to get, just barely out of the medals.

“She was a little disappointed, but I wasn’t.”

Not every Whitehorse gymnast was helped by the vault.

Emily King placed second overall in Level 2 Argo. She placed eighth on the vault before moving up the standings with first on the beam, third on the bars and the floor.

King was the Polarette’s youngest athlete at the meet at age nine. It was her first meet outside of the Yukon and Alaska.

“She had an excellent result,” said Catherine. “She’s very talented. She’s an all-around gymnast, she specializes in everything except the vault.

“The beam was amazing for her because she just didn’t fall.”

Other Polarettes includes Anisa Albisser placing fourth in Level 3 Tyro with third on the vault and the floor.

Robyn Poulter, last year’s Level 2 Yukon champ, took eighth in Level 2 Novice with sixth on the vault for her highest placement.

The Polarettes team is currently in Calgary for the Kyle Shewfelt Festival.

“We’re going to train at two or three clubs here in Calgary, so every day we’re training at a different club to give them some exposure and prepare them for Thursday and Friday’s meet,” said Catherine. “So we’re looking forward to strong results at that competition.”

Fayne, Venasse, Coyne and Peters made up the Yukon’s bronze-winning gymnastics team at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games last year in Whitehorse. At the Games Fayne won silver for the all-around competition with a gold on the vault.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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