With the pressure of provincial championships out of the way, the emphasis was clearly on fun as 10 different gymnastics clubs gathered in Sudbury recently for the annual Raise the Bar Gymnastics Challenge.
A Level 6 competitor with the host Sudbury GymZone Laurels, 14-year-old Emily Honse was just one of several athletes thankful for the change of scenery.
“When you come back from provincial finals and you come back to an invitational meet, it's more fun,” said Honse. “You're with a bunch of your friends, the stress level is more relaxed, so you're more confident going into your routines.
“I find I get better results that way. The balance beam, it seemed, often posed the biggest challenge to many young gymnasts, with a number of athletes twisting and turning simply to try and remain vertical on the four-inch beam.
“If you think about it, you get the same amount of a deduction for a big wobble or a small wobble. Saving that fall just saved you a whole point. It's definitely something to be happy about.”
Wobbles, big or small, were almost non-existent for 12-year-old Olivia Marois, also representing the Laurels in the Level 6 classification.
“I wasn't as confident on beam, I'm not sure why," said the Grade 7 student at Félix Ricard. “When I got first place, it really surprised me.”
In addition to her gold medal on the balance beam, Marois was also singled out as having the “biggest swing” on the bars.
“It was pretty big, but if I look at other people, I think they have bigger swings than I do,” said Marois modestly.
More than 200 gymnasts were on hand for the two-day event.
Following is a listing of all of the overall aggregate winners in the various categories that were assembled:
Level 2 - age 9: Sophie Villeneuve (Borden)
Level 2 - age 10: Maya Dokis (North Bay Apollo)
Level 2 - age 11: Faith Davies (Sudbury Salto)
Level 2 - age 12: Denika Perreault (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 2 - age 13: Maira Hunt (Borden)
Level 2 - age 14+: Hannah Leblanc (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 3 - age 9: Teaghen Couling (Borden)
Level 3 - age 10: Jordynn Daiter-Wylie (Optimist Salto)
Level 3 - age 11: Abigail Fawcett (Muskoka)
Level 3 - age 11B: Payton Gravelle (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 3 - age 12: Andreanne Kennedy (Stella Nova)
Level 3 - age 13: Chloe Racine (Stella Nova)
Level 3 - age 14+: Kaylie MacNeil (North Bay Apollo)
Level 4 - age 9: Emma Robertson (North Bay Gymtrix)
Level 4 - age 10: Maggie Emery (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 4 - age 11: Emma Wright (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 4 - age 12: Willow Morton (Sault YMCA)
Level 4 - age 13 - Sydney Marchant (Borden)
Level 4 - age 14+: Tia Richter (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 4 - age 14+: Carley Stewart (Borden)
Level 5 - age 9/10: Isabella Matarazzo (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 5 - age 11/12: Brielle Charlebois (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 5 - age 13/14+: Ashley Miron (Sudbury Laurels)
Level 6 - age 12/13/14+: Morgan Shewen (Borden)
Level 7/8/9: Kayla Folz (Sudbury Laurels)
Many of the same gymnasts on hand this past weekend will be back in action on the weekend of May 31 to June 2, travelling to North Bay for the Gymtrix Sunshine Classic 2013.
Tumblers and trampolinists are also on the go later this month, competing in their third provincial qualifier of the season this weekend.