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Gymnasts strike gold in Thunder Bay


Fort Frances Visserettes and Boys did very well at the first provincial qualifier and inter-club meets in Thunder Bay last weekend.

Receiving gold medals from here were Chelsea Hill, Hannah Kennedy-Dault, Travis Hahkala, Karly Cameron, Cara Yellowega, Chelsea Green, Cari Brow, Vicki Stinson, and Michell McFayden.

Sarah Blais, Jeanna Toninato, Andrea Nelson, and Jesse Brunetta all brought home silver medals while Sydney Boustead, Claire Crichton, Kerri Stinson, and Janelle Williamson earned bronze.

“We are a small club but we can hold our own in the northwest region,” said Betty Grynol who travelled with the team to Thunder Bay. “The athletes all performed very well and it was a close competition.

“The coaches and athletes worked hard to prepare for their first meet of the season and it paid off,” she added.

Coaches Mike Lang, Cari Brow, and Adriana Ota are to be congratulated, noted Grynol, adding they are a cohesive team and they put in many extra hours to get everyone ready.

Some 72 gymnasts competed in the one-day meet at the CLE grounds in the Coliseum building, with the Visserettes taking medals in all the categories they entered except for Tiny ‘B.’

Yellowega received the highest score of all the Prov. 1 athletes at the meet, placing first in the Junior 1 category for the gold medal.

Cameron placed first in the Pre-novice1 category for the gold while Crichton received a bronze medal all-around in the Pre-junior 1 provincial level.

Green topped in the Senior 1 category, with Blais placing second and Loveday fourth.

Hill placed first in the mini ‘C’ category. Toninato of International Falls placed second at the Tiny ‘A’ level while Sydney Boustead placed first.

There was a very large group of Tiny ‘B’ athletes but Brittany Ronerud performed excellent on the bars and floor to come in fourth all-around.

Kellar also was strong on bars to come in seventh all-around. Kennedy-Dault had a very consistent meet to place first all-around, with Nelson taking second place for the silver.

McFayden shone with a very consistent meet, scoring 8.53 on the vault 8.73 on the bars, 8.46 on the beam, 8.83 on the floor for a total score of 34.55 in the Argo ‘B’ level, where she captured the gold medal.

Williamson, competing at the same level, earned the bronze medal.

Vicki Stinson, competing at the Tyro ‘C’ level, achieved excellent scores of 8.87 on the floor, 8.3 on vault, and an 8.0 on beam to gain her gold medal in that category.

At the Argo ‘C’ Inter-Club level, Kerri Stinson took home the bronze with excellent scores on floor and vault.

At the Master’s level, coach Cari Brow dazzled the spectators with exciting routines. The 27-year-old certainly showed parents and athletes that it’s possible to continue the sport and stay in shape into your 20s.

She was a national competitor at McMaster University—and still has what it takes.

Brow received some top scores for the meet with a 9.03 on bars, a 9.03 on floor, 8.58 on beam, and a 7.8 on vault for the gold medal. She competed for the Visserettes for many years and her bars were always a delight to watch.

The club is very pleased to have her back in town as a coach.

In the boys’ meet, Travis Hahkala gained the top score of 53, receiving 9.3 on high bar and 9.25 on rings to put him in first place at the advanced level (ages nine and up).

Meanwhile, Jesse Brunetta had a strong meet for his first competition. His top marks were on rings and vault which earned him the second place medal in the all-around competition.

< *c>Trampoline

The local trampoline athletes competed in the first competition qualifier at the Confederation College bubble on Dec. 3 against Sioux Lookout and Superior Trampoline.

Four athletes from Fort Frances Trampoline Club attained the qualifying score to attend the provincials. Hillary Morgan received the top score of 54.5 for the gold medal in the Prov. 2 women’s category (the qualifying score is 45.0).

Kaela Hahkala was next in line with a score of 49.9 for the silver medal and Samantha Pearson took home the bronze with a score of 46.0.

In the men’s Prov. 2 category, Travis Hahkala earned the gold medal with a qualifying score of 48.2.

All trampoline athletes must compete at two provincial qualifiers and attain a qualifying score at one of them. Several of our athletes were unable to attend this meet so they will have to find another qualifier.

In related news, the Fort Frances Trampoline Club may host a meet if it can afford six judges. Superior Trampoline club was fortunate in that all of the judges were in Thunder Bay for the artistic meet on Saturday so they didn’t face huge transportation costs.

Joel Perron of Ryerson University, the superior judge for the meet, and Susie Grynol of Ottawa University judged this competition, along with Mike O’Brien (Sioux Lookout), Mike Lang (Fort Frances), Jon Trognitz (Thunder Bay), and Betty Grynol (Fort Frances).

“Joel Perron is national level judge and we are hoping we can get him to teach a judging course in the area because we are getting very short of judges,” said Arlan Hahakala, president of the Fort Frances Trampoline Club.

“I ended up coaching at the meet because our coaches had to judge—that is how short we are,” he stressed.

Meanwhile, the Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy is planning its annual Christmas display on Dec. 16 from 1-3 p.m. for the parents.

And the Fort Frances Trampoline Club is raffling a “Tub of Toys” for Christmas. Tickets are available from members, with the draw to be held Dec. 23.

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