The level of competition may have changed for many gymnasts over the last year, but the top finishers – for the most part – have remained the same.
Despite advancing to the next skill level, many of the same names were found at the top of divisions at the Yukon Gymnastics Championships at Whitehorse’s Polarettes Gymnastics Club on Saturday.
When her teammates chant her personalized cheer – “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Super Fayne!” – they are not just blowing hot smoke. Polarette’s Fayne O’Donovan, 10, who won Level 2 last year, was back at the top, this year finishing first in Level 3.
O’Donovan snagged top honours with first place finishes in the vault and beam, which are usually not her stronger events.
“Usually my stronger ones are the bars and the floor,” said O’Donovan. “So I was a little surprised that I got first on those ones, but I was still really happy.
“On the floor I did a layout half, instead of just a layout, which is a bigger bonus and it feels good to be able to do.”
O’Donovan, who finished with a total score of 48.25, just 0.9 up from second place finisher Caitlyn Venasse, produced her best score on the vault, registering a 12.65.
“I’m happy with my vault because I usually don’t land my full twist on it and I did, so that stood out,” said O’Donovan.
After winning Level 1 (“Argo”) division last year, Reena Coyne, 10, took the Level 2 title, coming first on the bars and the floor with a combined score of 45.95 in four events.
Helping Coyne reach the top of the two-person division, which included teammate Alyssa Bunce, were a couple new skills added to her floor and bars routines.
“I’ve had it for a month, but it’s my newest skill,” said Coyne of the kip she included in her floor routine. “My new skill on the floor would be my back-tuck – I just got it yesterday by myself.”
In the small, two-person Level 3 male division, Andrew Crist, 13, beat out fellow Polarette competitor Wiliam Rees, winning on the floor, the high bar and the rings.
Crist was the top local finisher out of the male competitors last year, taking third behind a pair of Juneau gymnasts.
“I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t win on the parallel bars or pommel horse because I didn’t do my best routines,” said Crist. “I think I did well on the vault and floor. I almost stuck (the landing on the) vault and on the floor my back layout was really high.”
Because so many of the higher levels only have a handful of competitors, championship organizers decided to group Levels 2, 3, 4 and 5 into teams based on past results from this season, to make it more of a team event.
“The reason we did that was we have two girls who are Level 4 and two that are Level 5 and they didn’t want to go back and forth between each other and be judged,” said Polarettes coach Cat O’Donovan. “Because there were just two in each, they just wanted to come and showcase their routines. They weren’t really worried about medals or placements because it just against their teammate.
“It’s hard to engage the kids in Yukon Championships in the higher levels because they don’t have anyone to compete against. It’s hard for us to get them motivated to want to do the best routines they can do. Usually we have Juneau (gymnasts) come but they couldn’t make it this year, so we did teams so they have a goal to try and achieve together.”
Level 1 (Tyro)
1st Megan Banks (46.24)
2nd Rosie Beckley-Lang (45.27)
3rd Gracie Ekholm (45.01)
4th Nantsana Murphy (44.24)
5th Avery Bramadat (42.85)
6th Maya Oakley (42.30)
7th Skye Hanson (35.94)
Level 1 (Argo)
1st Kendra Peters (42.67)
2nd Anisa Albisser (42.41)
3rd Maggie Fekete (42.04)
4th Gracie Osborne (41.05)
5th Monica Arsenault (37.08)
6th Matisse Robertson (36.08)
7th Jasmine Bergeron (19.80)
1st Reena Coyne (45.95)
2nd Alyssa Bunce (45.35)
1st Fayne O’Donovan (48.25)
2nd Caitlyn Venasse (47.35)
3rd Mackenzie Davy (45.85)
4th Lilyanne Gale (45.60)
Level 3 (male)
1st Andrew Crist (57.65)
2nd William Rees (48.15)
1st Kelcie Henney (46.85)
2nd Foreste Martin (45.25)
1st Anna Rivard (47.90)
2nd Corey Baxter (45.05)
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org