Morning Star Staff
It was a week of firsts for the Okanagan Rhythmics athletes at the Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton.
Eight athletes represented the team in an event which ranked more than 150 gymnasts and served as a qualifier to the Canadian Championships.
For three of the Okanagan gymnasts, it was their very first time competing at this level.
In the 3B category, the youngest age level at the competition, Jaedyn Andreotti, 8, performed three personal best routines.
“It felt super exciting to go to such a big competition.” said Andreotti. “I knew it was something special. I had practised with more focus than ever before and I knew I had improved.”
After two long days of competition, Andreotti won the all-around title of Western Canadian Champion.
“When I won, I was so excited. I had never won a competition before and now I am the Western Champion.”
In the level 4B category (ages 10-12), Emily O’Quinn and Isabel Wiseman both gave strong performances at their first Westerns, finishing fourth and sixth overall respectively.
Jaalah Ward, 9, competed in the elite National Pre-Novice Category taking first place in the Free and Rope events and finishing fourth overall.
In the National Novice and Junior categories, the top-10 athletes all around qualify for the nationals. Both levels were heavily stacked with veteran athletes all hoping to qualify.
In the Novice Category, Megan Hamilton, 11, showed that consistency was the key. She exceeded even her own expectations, placing fourth overall.
“It’s an amazing feeling to achieve your goal, but knowing that you worked hard for it feels even better,” said Hamilton of her qualification to the nationals.
Also in the Novice category, Tessa Rohatensky, 11, won over the judges to place 11th overall, taking one of the wildcard spots to the nationals.
Hannah and Loren Stanley, competing for their very first time in a national level, placed 12th and 15th out of 40 of the best Juniors in the country. After four flawless routines, Loren Stanley won one of only two Junior wildcard spots to the Canadian tournament.
Coach, Brie-Anne MacPherson, was ecstatic with the girls’ performances.
“I was so proud of each of the girls,” said MacPherson. “They all performed with such confidence and joy. To have three athletes qualify to the National Championships, each for their first time, was such a beautiful reward for all their hard work and dedication.”
Megan Hamilton, Tessa Rohatensky and Loren Stanley joined teammates Kiah Ward, Kelsey Anderson and Victoria Podollan at the National Championships in Montreal at the end of May.