Gymnastics is not a team sport. Yet, it was all about co-operation and accommodation between clubs during the Yukon Gymnastics Championships held at the Polarettes and Polar Tumblers Gymnastics Club on Saturday.
To wrap up the season, the Polarettes hosted 14 gymnasts from the Southeast Alaska Gymnastics Club out of Juneau, Alaska.
The gymnastics level (or grading) systems in Canada and the US are not identical, so both sides had to make concessions.
“We have to change our routines a little bit to meet each other’s rules,” said Jenn Ryan, head coach of the Polarettes. “(On the uneven bars, the Alaskan) little girls do everything on the low bar, where our girls jump to the high bar.
“Our rules tell us that our Level 1 have to do this, this and this. In Alaska, it’s not quite the same.
“If they could do our routine, they did it. If they couldn’t, we judged based on what they did do.”
Even when it came to Level 3, and higher, adjustments had to be made. With only four girls divided between those levels, they had to compete against each other, performing routines and feats appropriate to their level while getting point reductions for mistakes.
“I think it went really well today,” said Ryan. “This morning we (competed) in a different style because we only have four Level 3’s and up. So we competed them all against each other and just did an execution score.
“They had to perform in their level and the cleanest gymnast won.”
The same scoring system was used for the men’s competition.
Although she had the hardest feats to pull off as a Level 5, Polarette Anna Rivard, 15, took first overall with wins on the bars and off the vault.
“The only thing that stands out is I did my back extension on the beam, that’s something I just added to my routine,” said Rivard. “I fell on the beam and the first vault I did I fell, but the other two I didn’t, so it was pretty good.”
Rivard recently won gold for the vault at the Western Canadian Championships in Winnipeg. She performed the front tuck that won her gold at the westerns, but used the friendly atmosphere as a platform to showcase new works-in-progress.
“She has a new vault that she’s trying, so she tried one of those,” said Ryan. “We tried some things we wouldn’t try outside of the territory just because it’s a smaller meet. It might not be competition-ready, but it’s good showboating.”
Polarette Fayne O’Donovan, 9, finished first overall in the large Level 2 division, taking first on the vault and floor plus two third-place finishes on the bars and beam.
“I stayed clean on the vault and clean on my floor routine,” said O’Donovan. “On the beam I was kind of afraid of doing my back walkover because I wasn’t getting my feet on and sticking it. I got my feet on, but I didn’t stick it.”
Even though O’Donovan did not have many gymnasts from Alaska in her division, they nonetheless made an impression on her.
“I think they did really good,” said O’Donovan. “They were very nice and had good sportsmanship.”
Level 3 & up
1st Anna Rivard (Polarettes)
2nd Kelcie Henney (Polarettes)
3rd Corey Baxter (Polarettes)
1st Fayne O’Donovan (Polarettes)
2nd Alena Lacoste (Polarettes)
3rd Caitlyn Venasse (Polarettes)
4th Lilyanne Gale (Polarettes)
5th Naomi Welling (Juneau)
6th Mackenzie Davy (Polarettes)
7th Alice Frost-Hanberg (Polarettes)
8th Alyssa Bunce (Polarettes)
9th Hunter Nicholson (Juneau)
Level 1 (Argo)
1st Reena Coyne (Polarettes)
2nd Julianna Kawakami (Juneau)
3rd Norea Capua (Juneau)
4th Marin Dolbeck (Juneau)
5th Rosie Keckley-Lang (Polarettes)
6th Gracie Ekholm (Polarettes)
7th Mia Hines (Juneau)
Level 1 (Tyro)
1st Lena Kawakami (Juneau)
2nd Megan Banks (Polarettes)
3rd Elle Gray (Juneau)
4th Samantha Richardson (Polarettes)
5th Madeline Handley (Juneau)
6th Nantsana Murphy (Polarettes)
1st Kaden Harris (Juneau)
2nd Conner Koehler (Juneau)
3rd Andrew Crist (Polarettes)
4th William Reese (Polarettes)
5th Crispin Campbell (Juneau)
6th Kieran Kollar (Juneau)
Contact Tom Patrick at