Jackson finds podium at Westerns 

Sports Briefs: Whistler gymnast earns all-around silver, two individual golds in Saskatoon

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - westerns winner Hailey Jackson, seen here competing at the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Saskatoon, earned gold medals on the floor and vault.
  • photo submitted
  • westerns winner Hailey Jackson, seen here competing at the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Saskatoon, earned gold medals on the floor and vault.

Just getting to the Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships was unprecedented, but the results Hailey Jackson achieved once she arrived were unbelievable.

Jackson, the first athlete from Whistler Gymnastics to ever qualify for the meet, captured gold medals on two apparatuses on her way to an all-around silver.

"(It's a) huge accomplishment for her at Westerns," said coach Karin Jarratt. "Other provinces were surprised that a ski town had such a good program.

"We are now on the gymnastics map, so to speak."

Jackson, 11, competed in the Level 4 Tyro category and took first place with her floor exercise routine against a field of gymnasts from the four western provinces. But it was her victory in vault that was most impressive. Jackson's Tsukahara vault earned a score of 13.350 — a half-point better than any other competitor, and the highest score earned by any gymnast in any discipline at the event, which ran April 24 to 26 in Saskatoon.

Jackson finished as the all-around runner-up behind fellow B.C. competitor Brienna Gaspar, who finished with a total score of 50.100 to Jackson's 49.900.

"(Jackson's) skill set is substantial, especially considering that she trains 15 hours per week, which is very low compared to her contemporaries in the Lower Mainland," said Jarratt. "For the club, it's a real boost to see that a small gym like ours can cultivate her talent into such solid performances."

Jackson's results weren't the only notable ones for Whistler Gymnastics athletes last weekend, as several youth competitors turned in strong performances at the Aviva Cup that wrapped up in Coquitlam on Sunday, April 27.

Leading the way was Leah Brownlie, who grabbed the all-around gold in Level 2 Novice (13- and 14-year-olds) competition, and a gold on the uneven bars as well. Cassia Jean was the category's floor winner en route to fourth place overall, while Amy Ertel finished fifth in the all-around rankings.

Level 3 Novice (12- and 13-year-olds) competitor Gigi Kranjc also claimed all-around gold in her category, placing first on the vault and beam.

Level 2 Tyro (12-year-olds) gymnast Katie Faerge's consistency left her second in her all-around competition, as she reached the podium in three of four events. Ayva Spierings finished 12th overall, her best result coming on the vault.

Skyler Williams finished ninth in Level 2 Tyro (11-year-olds) all-around competition after top-10 finishes on every apparatus. Mali Forest, a Level 2 Argo (9- and 10-year-olds) gymnast, used a fourth-place beam finish on her way to sixth place overall.

Whistler's Level 1 Tyro (11- and 12-year-olds) contingent was solid, highlighted by Anna Prohaska's fifth-place all-around finish. Prohaska captured gold on both the floor and vault. Also in the category, Tessa Juniper finished eighth overall, Jaya Guibert placed ninth, Kaiya Nixon finished 11th and Kaitlyn Hill was 13th.

Level 1 Argo (10-year-olds) Nicole Bolleman collected a bronze on the vault on her way to sixth in all-around scoring. Katelyn Garcia placed 17th overall.

Whistler's final group, the Level 1 Argos (9-year-olds), was led by Annie Sproule, who claimed all-around silver after a gold medal on the vault and floor. Gabby Collins managed a fourth-place all-around finish and Mardi Williamson wound up eighth overall.

"This was the second meet of the year for this young team, but they showed great poise and competed well," said Jarratt.

Vancouver SUN RUN ATTRACTS several SEA TO SKY RACERS

Dozens of Sea to Sky runners pounded the pavement in the 30th Vancouver Sun Run on Sunday, April 27, the largest 10-kilometre road race in the country.

Squamish's Martin Caron was the fastest of them all, finishing in 38 minutes, 29 seconds to place 219th overall out of roughly 40,000 entrants.

Whistler's Mandy Hamilton had the quickest time of any local female runners, placing 243rd overall and 27th among women with her time of 38:49.

Daryl West (41:00), Atsushi Koyanagi (44:36) and Dane Cozens (44:45) had the top times among men from Whistler, while fellow resort residents Jo Munkenbeck (42:21) and Lucie Machutova had some of the top local female finishes.

Colin Geddes (38:29) and Jordan Ellis (45:23) joined Caron as Squamish's fastest runners on Sunday, while the top Squamish females were Heather Gordon (48:09), Talia Christianson (51:34) and Sheila McQuillan (52:12).

From Pemberton, Jeremiah Aguirre reached the line in 49:29. Eduardo and Hannah Aguirre crossed the finish together in 52:48, as did Daniel and Carlee Cindric at 56:13. Susan Hellevang was Pemberton's third-fastest woman.

Meanwhile, Squamish's Paul Russell won the men's 80 to 84 age group by finishing in a time of 1:11:47.

Full results are available at www.vancouversun.com/sunrun.

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