Hosts boast strong showing at provincials

Matthew Gourlie
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Big crowds and big local performances at Gymnastics Saskatchewan provincials

In front of big crowds on the provincial stage, Moose Jaw's young gymnasts felt right at home.

Moose Jaw Gymtastiks athletes had a strong weekend of competition as the club hosted the Gymnastics Saskatchewan Provincial Championships at the Hillcrest Sports Centre.

"They definitely peaked at the right time of the year and overall they did the best that they've done all year," said coach Jamie Olmstead.

The two-day competition was the combined provincial championship for men's artistic, women's artistic and tramp & tumbling disciplines and featured more than 230 athletes.

"We do have one of the smaller clubs that are represented here, so the medals that we have won and the championships we have won are quite great successes," said Olmstead. 

Bryn Giddings won the overall provincial championship in the Provincial 2 Open category in artistic gymnastics. Giddings was first in the vault, third in the floor exercise and finished fourth on the bars and on the beam.

Sarah Cairns also finished first overall in the Provincial 1 Tyro category. She was first on the beam, second on the vault and tied for second on the floor and tied for third on the bars.

Danielle Grieve won the Provincial 3 15+ Championship in tumbling. Brent Ertman won the National Double Mini Trampoline title.

"It was funny, Danielle was first on tumble and Brent was second on tumble and then on double mini Brent was first and Danielle was second," said Olmstead. "They flip-flopped and were within decimal points of each other."

Three of their double-mini competitors — Grieve, Ertman and Dennis Oppenlander — will be going to nationals in Ottawa in two weeks.

Oppenlander won the Senior Men Double Mini Trampoline title. Oppenlander, 19, is a member of the senior men's national team for trampoline and tumbling and finished 12th at the worlds in Sofia, Bulgaria in November.

On the other end of the experience scale, the Gymtastiks also had some young gymnasts getting their first taste of provincial competition.

"We have a couple of girls in their year's competing. For some it's their first time competing — they just turned nine — so it's the first year of being able to compete at the provincial level," said Olmstead.

One of those athletes was Claire Woloschuk who was first in the Provincial 1 under-12 Tumbling title and she was also first in the Provincial 1 under-12 Trampoline final.

Woloschuk said she was a little nervous, but she was excited for her first provincial competition and was happy with how she performed.

"(My favourite part of the weekend) was the first day because I got to see my scores and knew I was going to qualify for the finals," said Woloshcuk who said tumbling is her favourite event.

Arden Kaye was also first in the Provincial 1 under-12 Male Double Mini Trampoline.

In Provincial 1 Argo, Faith Adkins finished tied for first in the floor exercise and was tied for third on the beam. She finished ninth overall in the category. Jaicee Maruska was tied for third in the floor in the same category and was fourth in the vault. She finished 11th overall.

In Provincial 1 Open Leah Ashby was first in the vault and third on the floor and finished tied for second overall. Paige Pierce was fourth overall in the same category as she was tied for first on the bars and was third on the beam.

Kaylee Maruska won bronze medals in the vault and on the beam and finished fifth overall in the Provincial 2 Open field.

It was the first time that the club has hosted provincials since 2005 and the first time since they moved into the old curling space at the Hillcrest. The venue was packed with spectators throughout the competition. The event was well received and small wrinkles — such as healthy eating options for athletes and spectators — proved to be a hit.

"We've had so many great volunteers who put so many hours and so much sweat into this. They've even spent their own money really taking the time off work to come here and make sure this was a big success," said Olmstead.

One of those volunteers also developed a logo for this year's provincial championship which was then sold on hooded sweatshirts.

"We had a pre-order and it was very successful. We had almost 125 pre-ordered and we probably sold another 50 here," said Olmstead. "This has been our one and only big fundraiser of the year. We don't know how we've done so far, but we were hoping to raise more than $10,000."


Organizations: Hillcrest Sports Centre

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