North Peace gymnasts win team event

In their first competition of the season the North Peace Gymnastics Club has brought home some hardware for their efforts.

"Overall I think it went really well," said Head Coach Leanne Couch about the club's first meet of the season. "It was a good experience to go just to have a baseline to start the year off so we know what elements counted skill wise, and maybe other skills they [the gymnasts] need to work on to be at the highest difficulty. In the end they all proved really strong."

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The club travelled to St. Albert, Alberta Jan. 14 to compete at Winter Flip 2012, where they were awarded first place in the team overall competition for the Level 4 category (categories are divided by skill level ranging from one to four, with four being the most experienced - competitors are also divided by age).

North Peace level 4 competitors Heather Smith, Jaston Stockall, and Brianna Owen combined to give the club the top score in the team competition of their category in St. Albert.

Smith placed fifth in the Level 4 Tyro's (ages 10-11) competition with an overall score of 40.4 from four events, the vault, bars, beam and floor.

Stockall finished third overall in the Novice (12-13 years old) with a score of 46.1 - including a first place finish on the beam with a score of 12.55, nearly two full points ahead of her nearest opponent.

"That is definitely her event," declared Couch about Stockall's performance on the beam adding that Jaston should have scored higher if not for a judging error that robbed Stockall of full difficulty points, which would have placed Stockall higher overall giving her second in the standings.

In the Level 4 Open category (13+ years) Owen placed first overall with a combined score of 47.3. Owen started with a second place score of 12.6 on the vault receiving full marks for difficulty. Owen followed that up with a first on both the bars and the beam, scoring 11.7 and 11.25 respectively, and she placed third in the floor routine with 11.75.

"Brianna was just very clean all weekend," said Couch about Owen's performance. "I was super pleased with her results."

Also competing at Winter Flip was nine-year-old Mckenna Powers who participated in her first gymnastics competition ever, and Janelle Sonmor who competed in the Level 3 Open category placing fourth.

Couch was proud of all of her competitors, saying that for her first time competing Powers did well especially having done more difficult routines than others at her level, and she knows Sonmor, who stumbled on her beam dismount costing her some important points overall, is capable of placing higher having seen great things from her in practice.

Up next for the club Smith and Stockall will prepare for the B.C Winter Games to be held in Vernon Feb. 23-26, and Couch will take a group to Kamloops in March. Stockall and Smith qualified for the games earlier this year at a competition in Prince George.

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