Alexis Friesen of Vernon’s North Valley Gymnastics Society competes on the beam during a recent event in Kelowna. (Photo submitted)

Vernon gymnasts new and old dazzle at Kelowna event

North Valley Gymnastics Society sends 35 athletes to event, return with loads of medals

Vernon’s North Valley Gymnastics (NVGS) attended the recent Kelowna Invitational hosted by Synergy Gymnastics mid-February.

The club sent 35 athletes in Junior Olympic (JO) levels 1 to 7, Interclub Performance Challenge and High School.

“Our team has doubled in size from last year to this year and it is great to see all the newer girls so excited for the competition season,” said NVGS head coach Naomi Rokus.

Five gymnasts competed in the very difficult compulsory level of JO5 with three gymnasts sweeping the podium. Anna Skelly won gold in the all-around, vault and bars and silvers on beam and floor. Avery Goode (tied) was close behind Skelly earning silver in the all-around, gold on floor, and another silver for bars and a bronze for her vault. Sam Munroe earned a bronze for the all-around and a silver medal for her bar routine. Skelly, Goode and Munroe all qualified for the B.C. championships in April with their strong all-around scores.

READ MORE: Vernon gymnasts sparkle at Kelowna Invitational

Also competing in JO5 were Neala Hackman and Alexis Sibilleau with both athlete’s having strong finishes on bars.

JO3 athletes Austin Skelly (JO3 Junior) and Makenna Sibilleau (JO3 Child) also had strong performances with Skelly claiming silver in the all-around, gold on vault, silver on beam, and bronze on bars and floor. Sibilleau earned silver in the all-around, vault, bars and floor and bronze on beam. Other JO3 athletes competing were Ellie Cucheron with two silver medals (vault and beam) and a bronze medal (floor); Willow Kane earning silver on floor and a bronze on vault; Sydney Cassels earned a silver on vault; Shayla Flanagan earned a bronze for her vault; and Lilly Penner, Penny Bieber, and Eliana Johnson all made the top-10 for their category on each event.

JO 4 athletes Marysa Van Den Berg and Nicole Sjoberg had strong, consistent competitions earning a place at B.C. Championships. Van Den Berg earned two bronze medals for her bar and beam routines while Sjoberg remained steady in four events.

Competing in the higher, optional levels, were Brooklyn Mackenzie (JO7) and Emma Locke (JO6). Mackenzie earned a silver (vault) and a bronze (bars). Locke earned a silver for her vault.

With one of the highest scores of the competition, Alexis Friesen was golden in JO2 – gold on all four events and in the all-around! Also competing in JO2 were Julia Romanovitch, Aislynn Jewel, Oakley Pollock, Gabby Friesen, Bella Aucamp, and Maia Pilkington, who all received silver for their AA (all-around) scores.

At their debut competition in JO1, Leona Dunbar and Sienna Veldhuisen both received bronze (AA), with Macey Steinkrug winning bronze and Mia Roycroft capturing silver AA (JO 1 and 2 are not ranked, but athletes are awarded gold, silver or bronze for their performance).

The High School division included Ava Miller, Persais Palmer, Justine Chillihitzia, and Jamie Robinson. Alyssa Cooper (gold AA) and Aleya Hansen (silver AA) competed in the Interclub Performance Challenge.

“I am really proud of all the girls’ efforts, even the ones who didn’t do as well as they had hoped, but set small goals and achieved them,” siad Rokus. “I think it’s also important to recognize Anna Skelly and Alexis Friesen for being amazing competitors – not only for their gymnastics, but for the support they have for their teammates. They are seriously hard workers and such great influences for their teammates.”

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The Skelly sisters – Austin, left and Anna – show off the rewards from their hard work for the North Valley Gymnastics Society at a recent competition in Kelowna. (Photo submitted)

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