Okanagan gymnasts spun and danced their way to impressive performances at the rhythmic gymnastics national team trials.
The event, held at the Richmond Olympic Oval over the weekend, saw the best junior and senior gymnasts compete, with direct entry spots to the national competition on the line.
The team from the Okanagan had six ladies compete, three each in the senior and junior categories.
In senior, Camille Hardy finished 41st, Madeline Sellars 33rd and Halle Moger 18th.
In the junior division, Pippa Hardy was 40th in the all around category, Leila Girard was 34th while Noelle Brierley nabbed an impressive ninth place.
Brierley’s result not only qualified her for the finals, where she ended up finishing sixth in ribbon, but she also earned a direct entry to this year’s nationals, and a spot on the junior Canadian high performance team.
“I am very proud of my work up to Elite Canada and very proud of how I showed up, had fun, and made my goal of becoming high performance,” said Brierley.
“I am just so happy and proud that my hard work did finally pay off. My next goal is to really fight for top three at nationals and I will achieve this goal with the same joy and hard work that got me to where I am now.”
Okanagan’s head coach and Olympian Camille Martens was thrilled for Brierley’s performance, commenting that she is “one of the most consistently hard-working, focused and driven athletes I have ever worked with.”
The success at the trials now slots Brierley into an elite group of gymnasts from Vernon, becoming the 21st to make the Canadian high performance team.
“It’s hard to believe that there have been 21 of them and that we have had between one and five athletes every season since 2001,” said Martens. “Our community is so supportive and we are so proud to represent the Okanagan.”