Whistler Gymnastics on top in Delta 

The Whistler Gymnastics Club had a breakthrough weekend at the Delta Gymnastics Invitational last Saturday and Sunday, with athletes tumbling their way into the medals against the top teams from the Lower Mainland.

Competitive coach Karin Jarratt was especially proud of her athletes. This is the first year that Whistler has had two provincial Level 3 athletes, and both Frances Moody and Niki Sadler – who are representing Whistler at the B.C. Winter Games next weekend – won medals in their respective age categories.

"The results were surprisingly awesome," said Jarratt. "Frances won a bronze on the floor with a spectacular floor routine, and she was finishing fourth and fifth in the other events. Niki won a bronze on the bars, a bronze on the floor and did well everywhere else."

Jarratt says the experience will be valuable for the two athletes, both of whom are new to Level 3 this year, at the B.C. Winter Games.

"If anything, this has given them the confidence that they could do well at the Games. Before (last weekend), they were going to the Games to participate, to watch the other girls compete, but they have a lot more talent then I think they realized.

"The fact that they train less than 10 hours a week, and the girls they are competing against train 20 hours a week… says a lot for our club, and our athletes. They’re the best. They don’t have anyone to follow here, or anyone to look up to, because they are the first. They’re creating a path for the rest of the kids."

The Level 1 gymnasts – Ashlen Coombs, Alex Arcalean, Annik Tetreault, Sonya d’Artois – had a respectable showing for their first meet of the season, finishing ninth, 10 th and in a tie for 11 th respectively.

The club’s youngest gymnasts also got their first look at the LEAP program, which replaced the Kids In Progress program earlier in the season. LEAP (Let’s Evaluate our Athletes’ Progress) doesn’t focus on competitions, but rather on building skills and fitness.

On Saturday, the girls had their basic skills tested on the bars, beam, vault and floor. On Sunday they went through a Physical Ability test, which included a sprint, a rope climb, flexibility evaluations, holding poses, pull-ups, leg lifts and more.

At the end of the evaluation weekend, the girls are given a rating based on their performance, which is to act as a baseline to measure their progress. Two of the Whistler girls, Rebecca Flynn and Kate Benjamin, earned gold certifications on their first attempt.

The Whistler Gymnastics Club also helped to choose a high school team to represent Whistler Secondary at the provincial championships next month. They are Cayley Alexander, Becky Boese, Dakota DenDuyf, Angelina Manuel, Chantal Milan, Kristi Poole-Adler, Holly Hetherington and Jenny Higgins.

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