Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics shone at their first event of the 2018 competitive season in Edmonton. (Photo Submitted)

Rhythmic gymnasts rule Edmonton

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics shone at Gym Power in Edmonton.

Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics shone at their first event of the 2018 competitive season in Edmonton.

Gym Power is a massive event with athletes in Women’s Artistic, Men’s Artistic and Rhythmic Gymnastics at the University of Alberta’s Butterdome.

The goal for the club’s Provincial-level team was to earn experience and coach Brie-Anne MacPherson was excited with the opportunity .

“Competing, like anything else, takes practice,” said MacPherson. “It is important for the girls to get out on the floor and experience what happens in a different environment, especially with nerves coming into play. Our goal is to peak this team for the Western Canadian Championships in April. This was our first competition on that path.”

Even though it was an early season event, the team of nine gymnasts left with an impressive 26 medals, 10 of those gold.

Kaylee Gauthier, the youngest member of the Okanagan team, at age eight,, competed for the first time at the Provincial level in the 3B category. Also competing for her first time at this level, Camille Hardy performed beautiful skills to win the Level 3B rope

Veteran of the level, Kaitlyn Dugas, competed clean and consistent routines, winning silver in ball and the special award for Outstanding Energy from the judges.

Noelle Brierly, nine, competed in the challenging 3C category, reserved for young gymnasts preparing to compete at the national level in the near future. Her outgoing performing and smart decision-making help to make her the Level 3C rope champion and also won her the special award for Best Expression from the judges.

In level 4B, Ava Macdougall charmed the judges while staying focused to take bronze in free, hoop, ball and overall. Leni Szudek also started her season strong, taking the silver medal in free, hoop, clubs, overall and winning a special award from the judges for her great expression.

It was Vlada Pushkova’s first competition in the Level 5B category, one of the biggest levels at the event. Her calm and focused energy help her to move ahead of the crowd, taking bronze in ball and silver in hoop.

Gracie Cox, coming off last year as the Level 4C Provincial queen, swept the 5B level, taking gold in clubs, ribbon, ball and overall.

Sonia Ivanchikov, a native of Edmonton, who moved to B.C. to train with Okanagan Rhythmics, went home in style, sweeping the senior category of 6B, winning gold in ball, clubs, hoop and the gold medal overall.

“Overall it was a great first event of the season for the team,” added MacPherson. “We gained valuable experience, set goals for the rest of the season and had a lot of success. I’m excited to see how the girls continue to shine throughout the season.”

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