Vernon talent shined at the Cobweb Invitational gymnastics competition.
Hosted by Kelowna’s Okanagan Gymnastics Centre on Jan. 5, the competition saw more than 100 athletes from Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, Salmon Arm and Kamloops hit the mats.
A contingent of North Valley Gymnastics dominated the Junior Olympic (JO) Levels 3-5 and brought home 17 medals. Veronika Yacovelli, a Vernon resident who trains with Kelowna’s Okanagan Gymnastics Centre, also claimed second in overall and vault as well as third on bars and floor in the JO 7 category. Katie Flaten, also of Vernon, took second overall, first on floor and third on vault for Okanagan Gymnastics Centre.
For the North Valley Gymnastics competitive team, it was an opportunity to kick off their competitive season in style.
“The girls have improved so much this year. We have been training really hard to become more competitive at these levels. The girls have really embraced the training changes,” said coach Naomi Rokus. “To see the delight and joy on their faces was pretty incredible. I don’t think they realized how much they had improved until today.”
Emma Locke, born in 2009, competed for the first time in JO Level 5 and wowed the judges, spectators, athletes and coaches with her handspring vault the scored a 9.5 out of 10. Locke brought home gold on vault, and two silver medals for her uneven bars and beam routines. Locke placed second in the all-around with a provincially competitive score of 35.55 out 40.
“Emma has worked very hard to compete in Level 5. The routines are challenging both physically and mentally and Emma has proved that she is up for those challenges,” Rokus said.
Anna Skelly, Sam Munroe and Alexis Sibilleau competed in JO Level 4. Skelly and Munroe competed with other athletes born in 2009-2010. Both athletes brought home multiple medals.
Skelly (2009) won vault and earned bronze medals for beam and floor routines. Skelly also came second in the all around. Munroe (2009) swung to the gold medal on bars and earned silvers for her vault and floor routines.
Alexis Sibilleau competed with athletes born in 2007-2008. Sibilleau (2008) earned silver medals on uneven bars and balance beam and won a bronze for her much-improved handspring vault. Sibilleau also placed second in the all around.
Competing in JO Level 3 were Avery Goode (2009) and Neala Hackman (2009). Goode exploded on vault for 9.575 and performed her beam routine like she was on the sidewalk earning a 9.625 and gold medals for both events. She also took home the bronze for her floor. With a competition-high score of 36.875, Goode won the all-around gold as well. Hackman was also golden on bars with a 9.375 and she won bronze for her vault and in the all around.
Also competing at the Cobweb Invitational were Aiyanna Collins and Stacy Mugridge in the High School category. Both girls train at NVGS and represented W.L. Seaton and Heritage Christian Online respectively. Both athletes competed in HS Level 3 out of 5. Both girls had a solid competition, shining on bars with Collins earning the silver medal and Mugridge placing seventh.
Interclub girls Ava Miller and Alyssa Cooper had a great first competition with Cooper getting gold all around and Miller getting silver all around.
Both coaches for high school and Interclub, Christina Williams and Cariann Hewison, are happy with how the girls did at the competition.
“This is the first year that we are doing high school gymnastics and this is also the first time this group of girls has competed so early in the season,” said Melissa Locke with NVGS. “They were very nervous but you would never have known while they performed their routines. Their hard work has paid off already.”