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Strong showing for hometown gymnasts

Athletes on road to provincials
Strong showing for hometown gymnasts

Twenty schools representing the Central and North Island zones descended upon Powell River recently to try out for BC Secondary School Sports provincial championships in gymnastics.

Powell River Gymnastics Society hosted the qualifying meet and in total 65 girls and 12 boys competed for a spot on their zone team that will attend the championships March 8 to 10 in Burnaby.

Newcomer Desiree Young, the only gymnast from Oceanview Middle School, won silver all around for level one juniors with gold medal performances on vault and floor exercise. Sydney Forward placed silver on floor routine, and finished sixth all around out of 11 athletes. Both Young and Forward qualified for a position on the Upper Zone team for provincials.

For the level one senior category, Brooks Secondary School student Megan Budd placed first on bars, second on vault, third on beam and fourth on floor, winning gold all around. Her Brooks teammate Serena Coe, competing in her first competition, ended with a first place medal for vault.

Danni McLeod earned silver for floor routine while Vanessa Firenze placed bronze on bars. All four of these gymnasts will attend provincials.

The level two team was the largest contingent at the competition. Cassandra King led the way with first place on vault, second place on bars, fourth place on floor and silver all around. Brooks continued to show strength with solid bar routines by Amanda Garvin (first place) and Alisha Kennedy (seventh place). Jessica Kenmuir had a personal best on beam ranking fifth. The level two team wrapped up with Shyanne Ashton landing in first on vault. In order of ranking, the level two team is: King, Kennedy, Kenmuir and Ashton. Garvin made the team however will not be available to attend.

Only three Powell River athletes competed in level three women’s category. Ferin Fogarty had a personal best on floor with a score of 12.1 placing her fifth out of 14 competitors and fifth all around. Kianna Thistlethwaite scored 12.4 on vault winning first place and first on bars as well. She placed sixth all around. Ariel Atkinson rounded out the team with a bronze medal for her floor routine. All three athletes made the team for provincials but Thistlethwaite will be unavailable to attend.

Level four athletes, Natalie Verdiel and Kendra Vizzutti, performed in the final women’s competition. Verdiel, whose performances were captured on video and submitted for consideration, placed sixth in her level. Vizzutti placed first on her floor routine with a score of 12.8. She also placed fourth on vault and bars leading to fourth all around out of nine competitors. Both Vizzutti and Verdiel will perform at provincials.

In men’s level one Malcolm McDonald also submitted his routines by video. At his second competition ever, McDonald received gold on rings, silver on floor, pommel horse, parallel bars, high bar and bronze on vault. McDonald ranked second all around and will be attending provincials.

As the only Powell River level two men’s competitor, Samuel Kazakoff made his mark. He placed first on floor, first on pommel horse, first on rings, first on high bar, second on parallel bars and third on vault. Kazakoff ranked first all around and will go to provincials.

The community really helped the society make this meet a success, especially with quickly changed travel plans. Donations from local businesses fueled the athletes and spectators. “We have received the nicest comments and feedback from our guests about the positive atmosphere of the meet and the kindnesses that they received,” said Joyce Percey, executive director of the society.