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Polarettes tumble to eight medals at Kelowna invitational

Gymnast Maude Molgat stayed as cool as a cucumber when the pressure was on in Kelowna, B.C. over the weekend.

Gymnast Maude Molgat stayed as cool as a cucumber when the pressure was on in Kelowna, B.C. over the weekend.

Competing at the Ogopogo Invitational, the member of Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club didn’t let nerves get the better of her, winning silver all-around in the Junior Olympic 4 senior A division at the meet hosted by the Okanagan Gymnastics Club.

“She’s a very cool competitor. She’s very calm and collected,” said Polarettes head coach Catherine O’Donovan. “Even when she won the silver all-around, she just lets out a little smile. That’s just her personality and I think that helped her win.

“I was talking to her mom about it and her mom said she was very nervous about beam, so she just told herself that she was doing a practice and didn’t let herself think about anything else.”

In addition to her all-around silver, Molgat placed second on floor and beam and third on the uneven bars out of 14 competitors.

All four Polarettes gymnasts placed top-10 in the division.

Ava Jampolsky won bronze all-around, with fifth on the bars and floor. Aryanna Lavanderos took seventh all-around with fourth on beam. Ella Paldy placed ninth all-around with a silver on vault.

“For all of those girls it was their first time flying and going to a big meet,” said O’Donovan. “So it was pretty exciting because they all had fantastic results. It was a great trip for them.”

Whitehorse’s Lily Witten propelled herself to gold in Kelowna. Competing in Junior Olympic 3B junior A, Witten won gold on the vault en route to placing 6th all-around out of 15.

“I think she’s our youngest competitor and she’s our newest one,” said O’Donovan. “This was her first time travelling, other than to Juneau.

“She did amazingly well; she got gold one vault. She just had a phenomenal meet and was consistent all around.”

Witten wasn’t the only Polarette to vault to hardware. Riley Boland took silver in vault to place 11th all-around out of 15 in Junior Olympic 3B senior.

“In the American system, when you’re in Levels 1 through 5, it’s all compulsory routine, so everyone does the exact same routine,” said O’Donovan. “Riley forgot one skill in her beam routine ... and that cost her placing in the top five, but she had a great meet otherwise. She knows not to forget that skill again.”

Other Polarettes results in their respective Junior Olympic level 6 divisions include Hailey Sherman eighth all-around with fourth on the floor; Sasha Kozmen 13th all-around with fifth on the beam; and Alexis Benson 14th all-around with 11th on the beam.

Bianca Berko-Malvasio placed 11th out of 16, breaking into the top-10 with ninth on the beam, in Junior Olympic 7 junior A.

Matisse Robertson finished 16th out of 16 in Junior Olympic 7 senior, but secured 13th on the floor.

Reena Coyne, the highest level Polarettes gymnast in Kelowna, faced some tough competition at the invitational.

Coyne placed 20th out of 22 in the Western Canada Summer Games trials, taking 12th on the bars and 14th on the vault.

“She had a very stiff competition against anyone from B.C. who wanted to go out for the westerns team,” said O’Donovan. “They were taking whoever placed top seven to westerns. So they didn’t have an age category and had a big competition pool.

“Reena actually had a very solid meet. She had one of her better meets this year, it was just stiff competition.”

Coyne, who was the only Yukon gymnast to compete at the Canada Winter Games earlier this year, is slated to represent Yukon at the western Games this August in Wood Buffalo, Alta.

“Right now Reena is on the (Yukon) team, barring nothing happening - if she doesn’t get hurt,” said O’Donovan.

Contact Tom Patrick at