Young prognosticator gets gold

Gymnastics: More than 320 athletes at Mountain Magic Gymnastics Invitational

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 01, 2013 11:13 am

Mountain Shadows’ Emma Shewfelt does a back <br />walkover on the balance beam at the Pason Centennial Arena Friday during the Mountain Magic Gymnastics Invitational.
Mountain Shadows’ Emma Shewfelt does a back <br />walkover on the balance beam at the Pason Centennial Arena Friday during the Mountain Magic Gymnastics Invitational.

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A young gymnast had a magical touch at predicting the future.

Eight-year-old Riley Doyle correctly picked who would win the P1 U9 all-around title at the 13th annual Mountain Magic Gymnastics Invitational at Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks Sunday morning.

“I was really proud,” said Doyle, a Good Shepherd School student. “I was telling everybody I was going to get first. I really wanted to get first because it would be my first gold ever.”

Doyle won the first gold medal of her career at the event, which is hosted by her club, Okotoks’ Mountain Shadows Recreation Centre, every year. This year’s event brought in a record 323 athletes who represented 23 clubs. They came from across Alberta and included clubs from Cranbrook, BC and Brandon and Winnipeg, MB.

The ever-optimistic Doyle was able to back her prediction by finishing in the top 20 among the 26 athletes in her division in each of the four elements — bars, balance beam, vault and floor exercise to win the championship.

Doyle was tops in the bars thanks in part to a solid dismount from the top level.

“I did a straddle off,” she explained. “It’s pretty easy to learn.”

Her favourite discipline is the floor exercise in which she was second.

Fourteen-year-old Jordyn Bahr missed winning an all-around championship by a toe. She finished second in the P4 Novice division on Friday night with 12.150 points — just .650 away from first-place Makenna Darroch.

The point differential is about the difference of not pointing your toes one time, she said. Bahr was the model of consistency. The Okotoks Junior High School student was second in the bars and the beam, fifth on floor exercise and eighth on vault.

“The beam just seems to come easy to me — I had a clean routine,” she said. “In the bars I was clean too.”

Bahr had a personal best score in the all-around. She said the floor and the vault are her two toughest disciplines — particularly the floor.

“Sometimes, I don’t get enough speed to tumble,” she said.

She credited her success to working hard this season and the fact she felt right at home. The equipment was the same she works on at Mountain Shadows in Okotoks.

“It makes a big difference especially in the bars and the floor,” she said explaining different bars and floors may have a different bounce in them.

She said she didn’t worry about the fact she lost out by a fraction of a point.

“No, I was really happy, because I think it was the first time this year I had a clean routine (in all my events),” she said.

Mountain Shadows gymnast Kiara Newhook won the all-around P2 Argo (beginner level) division. Her teammate Callie Zacharias of High River finished first in the all-around in P2 Tyro (intermediate level) followed closely by her teammate Sydni Paish.

Team work

Bahr and Zacharias were also members of the Purple Platypuses — four members from the host Mountain Shadows who won the bronze in the first team event in the event’s history.

“The team event was awesome — the kids had a blast,” said Mountain Shadows coach Tracy Jegou, who led the Platypuses. “The girls did amazing in their events.”

The Platypuses consisted of Callie Zacharias, vault; Danika Gibbs, floor; Aidan Doyle, bars; and Bahr on the balance beam.

The Platypuses finished third to a pair of deserving teams from Brandon.

“Brandon is really good,” Jegou said. “But the Platypuses were spot on — they didn’t have slip ups at all.”

Jegou said the team competition is a positive experience as it builds camaraderie among the girls.

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