Trampoline athletes shine at nationals 

Soane overcomes injury while two other locals may qualify for international event

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - FLYING FIVE The Whistler Gymnastics trampoline team excelled at nationals in Lethbridge, Alta. earlier this month.
  • Photo submitted
  • FLYING FIVE The Whistler Gymnastics trampoline team excelled at nationals in Lethbridge, Alta. earlier this month.

Five Whistler Gymnastics trampolinists bounced east for nationals earlier this month, putting up some excellent results.

At the Canadian Championships in Trampoline Gymnastics in Lethbridge, Alta. from July 6 to 8, Gigi Kranjc hit the podium with a third-place finish in Level 6 under-17 double-mini while also taking fourth in trampoline Level 6. Gabby Flynn, meanwhile, took fourth in Level 6 under-17 double-mini and fifth in junior-level trampoline. The duo also combined to take seventh in Level 5 synchronized.

Meanwhile, Sydney Lovell-Schmidt was fourth in Level 5 over-17 trampoline and 11th in the Level 5 over-17 double mini. She and Ella Soane took eighth in Level 5 synchronized, while Soane took 12th in Level 5 under-16 trampoline. Lastly, Jett Williams took 10th in the Level 5 under-16 double mini.

Coach Tanya Liquorish was proud of all five competitors.

"They all performed at their highest levels, so that was great," she said. "It's been a long training year, so I was nervous because it was so late in the year."

Kranjc and Flynn both posted scores that make them eligible for a national-level camp for next year's age-group worlds, though with another qualifier set for later this summer, Liquorish expects an official announcement at the end of August.

Soane, meanwhile, was pleased with how she performed, accomplishing the goals she'd set for herself going in.

"My main goal was to complete a new skill I put into my routine. It's called a half-out, which is two front flips and a half twist," she said. "(I wanted to) finish my routine and do as well as I possibly could."

Soane, 13, qualified for nationals in 2017, doing so in her first-ever event at Level 4. She's risen quickly through the ranks, and is now up to competing at Level 5.

"It was my first time competing at a national level, so I was a bit nervous, but it's just like any other level. The tricks got a bit more difficult for me, but I was able to get that," she said. "I had the option to stay in Level 4 and go to Level 5 when I was comfortable, but I thought 'Why not just go to Level 5?'"

Her individual event was complicated by an injury, but she persevered and still managed an impressive result.

"I got to do a little warm-up on the competition tramp, but then I fell off and wound up pulling a muscle in my quad," she said. "They had to get a wheelchair and they wheeled me away. I was a bit scared because I didn't want to not compete because I'd worked so hard to get to nationals."

Soane said organizers made some accommodations and allowed her to compete in a later group in order to allow her roughly two hours of recovery time.

"It was still a bit painful to jump, but after warming up again, it was a lot easier and I didn't really feel much pain after that," she said.

Liquorish was impressed with Soane's resolve.

"She was a trooper. She's amazing, actually, as an athlete," she said. "For her age, she's always been able to pull through difficult situations and think them out."

Soane hopes to make Level 6 next season and when at nationals, has the goal of punching her ticket to age-group worlds.

Liquorish said Whistler Gymnastics' competitive trampoline division is up to 16 athletes and still on track to grow further.

She credited the athletes with helping one another, especially with a wide range of ages in the club.

"I find they're becoming better coaches than I am, so then I know I've done my job well," she said with a chuckle.

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