Rhythmic gymnasts shine at national finals

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club members took on the best of the best in Edmonton.

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club members took on the best of the best in Edmonton.

Only qualified athletes could take part in the Canadian championships where top-10 ranks at the end of the rhythmic gymnastics season are coveted.

“It was exciting to have athletes placing top-eight in every category at the highest level event in the country,” said Okanagan coach Camille Martens. “To see the girls work so hard throughout the season, and to end on such a high note, is a team goal and this year it was clearly achieved.”

At the senior high performance national team pool level, ORGC veteran Megan Hamilton not only qualified for her ninth HP finals, she finished sixth overall in those senior finals. For the first time ever, Hamilton was top-eight in all senior events: sixth in hoop, eighth in ball and fifth in clubs and ribbons.

Emmalee Holland was on fire in the senior open division, having no drops during the entire competition and winning the judges over with her charm. She was sixth overall in her first year in the senior category.

Leah Defeo, competing in her final compettion, finished her gymnastics career beautifully, placing fifth overall.

Isabella Haldane was 13th overall in the all- around portion of the junior high performance national team pool, and was seventh in her elegant and exciting ribbon routine. Haldane advance to the HP overall finals, and her total score was nine full points higher than it was at Elite Canada in March.

Jaedyn Andreotti was fifth in the all around event, and also advanced to the HP overall finals where she scored more than 14 in her dynamic hoop routine and captured the bronze meal. She was fifth in the clubs final and was awarded the prestigious Miss Elegance award.

Halle Moger, a Grade 7 student from Hillview Elementary, cracked the top-10 in the junior open class, finishing ninth overall.

In the novice event, Ashlyn Andreotti (Grade 6 BX) and Elle Dockendorf (Grade 6 Beairsto) competed in their first national championships. Dockendorf placed ninth overall, thanks to consistent charm, skills and clean execution. Dockendorf was fifth in her ball routine to the epic song Castle on a Cloud, in which she scored her first-ever 11, finishing with an 11.35. Andreotti was 21st overall.

In preparation for the nationals, Haldane and Andreotti attended two overseas competitions.

First, they were at the Princess of Hearts junior tournament in Vienna. Haldane performed outstanding, expressive routines with no drops and crowned the overall gold medalist and junior champion. Andreotti won bronze and Martens was named International Coach of the competition.

From Vienna, it was off to Marbella, Spain for the Grand Prix team event featuring 14 countries and all the top stars in the world.

The Canadian junior team of the two Vernon girls and Calgary’s Aretehya Haberman finished sixth, with Andreotti being the team’s top scorer.

“Being in front of such a full and enthusiastic crowd was very inspiring,” said Andreotti. “It was unreal and they weren’t just little girls. We felt really supported by the cheering and screaming fans.”

Added Haldane: “Being able to see my favourite gymnasts in the world for the first time was beyond words. I loved watching them and seeing the power and speed they have.”

Vernon Morning Star