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Local gymnasts stride to top marks here

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The Fort Frances Gymnastics Club had a tremendous competition at the fourth-annual Springfest Invitational meet here last weekend, winning three of the top awards.

Cara Yellowega (3B), Janelle Williamson (1A), and Weronika Szmiglielsha (Prov. 1 Open) all received top honour trophies donated by Visserettes founder Laurens Visser.

Unfortunately, Visser was unable to present the awards this year because he was in hospital in Thunder Bay undergoing tests. Terry Stinson, who sits on the executive of the Visserettes, presented the trophies instead.

Other local gymnasts receiving medals included Lisa Edwards (fourth in 2C), Michelle McFayden (second in 1A), Jill Howarth (fourth in 1A), Ashley Wilson (fifth in 3B), Samantha Pearson (third in Prov. Junior), Alana Makinson (third in 1B), and Nina Stopa (sixth in 1B).

Receiving trophies and ribbons at the pre-competitive level were Jamie Petrin, Samantha Loveday, and Sydney Boustead.

Lauren Miller, granddaughter of Joan Miller, also received a trophy. Joan had coached the Visserettes for many years after Visser retired and her daughters--Nancy, Kyla, Jody, and Alexis--also competed for the local club.

It is nice to see the Miller name on the roster again!

Larry Fontana, one of the club’s original coaches, was on hand to award participation trophies to all the gymnasts at every level.

A special moment occurred when Fontana presented his two granddaughters, Brooke and Nicole Fontana, with their trophies in the pre-competitive level--getting a big hug from each one.

The F.F. Gymnastics Academy on Fifth Street East literally was bursting at the seams for the two-day meet, which attracted some 90 gymnasts (plus spectators) from Red Lake, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay, and Fort Frances.

In fact, Chane Rissman, vice-president of the Rainbow Rhythmics, noted the canteen had to be made smaller three times for the athletes who needed longer run-ups for the uneven bars or to accommodate the high beam.

“We definitely need an addition to this facility if we are to host such large meets,” Rissman stressed.

Up next, the coaches will direct their energies to the annual “Pie Day” display slated May 1. Each program in the club will perform a routine for the parents and families.

Every family contributes a pie, and all enjoy pie and coffee afterwards.

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