It wouldn’t be a stretch to think the Yukon’s gymnastics team for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games looks rather stacked.
But cast back to the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., and you’ll understand why.
The Yukon’s gymnasts won bronze in the team event there where gymnastics was a Level 3 competition and the Yukon’s four athletes had only just graduated from Level 2.
For the Games coming up in Whitehorse this March, the competition is a Level 2/3 split. And at this point, the Yukon’s gymnastics team includes three experienced Level 3 athletes.
So things are looking good, said Yukon coach Kat O’Donovan.
“We have a stronger team than last time,” said O’Donovan. “Our girls were strong last time, but were Level 2s going into Level 3 for Arctics. That was the first time they were competing at that level. Now Caitlyn (Venasse) has been competing at it for two years, Fayne (O’Donovan) has been competing at it for two years, Reena (Coyne) has been competing in it since September.
“Basically we have three Level 3s and a Level 2, so we’re a pretty stacked team,” she added. “(We won) bronze last time so we’re aiming for that or higher. Alberta and Alaska are historically pretty tough to beat so that’s our goal.”
Gymnastics team trials for the Arctic Winter Games took place on Sunday at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club in Whitehorse.
Venasse took first on the beam. She also tied for first on the bars and was second on the floor.
“I think it’s going to be a little different because we’re just going into Level 3 last time and now we’re more solid Level 3s,” said Venasse.
Coyne came second. She was last season’s Level 2 winner at the Yukon Championships last June. She scored first on the vault, tied Venasse for first on the bars and tied for second on the beam.
Kendra Peters snagged third, tying Coyne for second on the beam for her best placing and also took third on the bars.
Megan Banks finished fourth in the competition by landing second on the vault and third on the floor.
Banks is currently the team’s alternate, but could move onto a permanent position on the team with Venasse, Coyne and Peters.
The last permanent spot on team is up in the air while the Yukon Gymnastics Association awaits the return of Fayne O’Donovan, who is currently out with an injury. Excused with a doctor’s note, she will have a chance to make the team at a later date, if she is able to perform by the extended deadline.
“Based on her standing in the gym, and her level, we knew there was a good probability of her making the team,” said Kat O’Donovan. “So she was given an exemption until February 13 … with the Arctic Winter Games committee.
“If she can compete but doesn’t score above the top four scores today, then Megan will be on the team.”
Fayne O’Donovan competed at the 2010 Games, placing eighth out of 20 competitors in the individual competition for the her team’s best result. She also came first in Level 3 at last season’s Yukon Gymnastics Championships.
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