Her head coach calls Halle Moger a force.
And for good reason.
The 16-year-old rhythmic gymnast, a 10-year member of Vernon’s Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club, has had a dynamite season so far, capturing nine gold medals at three early-season events, including sweeping all five golds at her home event, the Queen of Hearts Invitational, at the Vernon Rec Centre.
“Halle has been leading her team with style, grace and composure,” said head coach Camille Martens, Canadian Olympian and Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame member. “She is a powerful and dynamic performer and has diligently worked on filling in her skill gaps in the last years. Seeing her rise into the position of senior team-leader is such a pleasure. Her attitude and effort have been clean, clear and aggressive.
“This is just the beginning for her. So much is possible when you work the way she is working right now. It’s the stage a coach dreams of entering with their athletes. It’s been years in the making. She is very inspiring.”
Moger became interested in rhythmic gymnastics at age six, joining after watching the club’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.” It was the performing aspect that drew her into the sport.
“I remember thinking all the apparatus tricks were so much fun. I still remember the first hoop catch I learned and when I caught it for the first time when everyone was looking,” said Moger. “At this stage, I love competing, but honestly I love all of it. Everything feels lighter this year. I feel in touch with how much I love this sport. My teammates and I look at things with such a positive attitude and when we do that together it makes pushing hard so much easier. I am excited about sharing this year with them.”
At the Gym Power Invitational in Edmonton, featuring more than 600 athletes competing in rhythmic gymnastics, tumbling and artistic gymnastics, Moger participated in the highest senior level (age 16+) and won four gold medals, one bronze and the overall title by more than three points over Alberta’s Karina Boeckx.
Other team highlights included: Noelle Brierley winning the novice division (highest level for athletes 12 and under), Clara Cox winning a novice bronze medal, Anya Massa winning silver and Leila Girard winning bronze in Level 3. Madeline Sellars was the team’s top junior finisher, placing fourth.
The Las Vegas Invitational drew more than 400 rhythmic gymnasts from nine countries. Moger won the senior silver overall medal, and achieved her personal best ever score in her clubs routine, 16.2, with a massive difficulty score of 9.4. This 16.2 also broke the Okanagan team’s top-scoring record that was previously held by Jaedyn Andreotti when she won the silver medal at the Pacific Rim Championships in Colombia with 15.35.
At the Queen of Hearts, Okanagan’s athletes shone bright as they competed for medals against top athletes from BC and Alberta. Team highlights included:
Level 3: Kaylee Gauthier won gold, silver and bronze (overall); Pippa Hardy won two silver (rope and ball); Liviah Brett won a bronze (ball).
Level 4: Chelsea Kazimer won three gold and one silver; Sophia Sexton won two silver and two bronze; Payton Brunton won two silver and two bronze.
Pre-Novice (3C): Anya Massa won three gold and one silver;
Novice: Noelle Brierley won four gold and one silver;
Junior (9:Open): Ashlyn Andreotti won two silver and two bronze medals; Madeline Sellars won a bronze (clubs);
Junior (10: HP National Team Pool): Elle Dockendorff won gold in clubs and ribbon, silver in rope, ball and overall;
Senior: Halle Moger swept all 5 gold medals taking the overall title with more than a 12.0 lead over her competitors.
The Queen of Hearts event draws top judges including 1984 Olympic gold medallist Lori Fung, former National federation president Adrienne Arnold and International Brevet Judge Diana Zoe Coop.
Moger joined many Okanagan teammates at the Olympia International Invitational, followed by a small training camp at the Olympic Oval. All this will be the set-up for Elite Canada (the first of two annual national team trials) the following weekend. Moger has been selected by Gymnastics Canada to attend Elite Canada together with Elle Dockendorff, Ashlyn Andreotti and Noelle Brierley.
Martens is the head coach of the Okanagan team. She was Commonwealth Games Champion (five medals), World’s All Around finalist and Olympian who was heavily supported by her hometown of Vernon. She came back to Vernon to give back to the community that made so many dreams possible for her, forming the Okanagan club in 1997.