It just goes to show that not even blistering cold and brutal snowfalls can keep the Woolwich Gymnastics Club away from the ol’ bars and beams. On March 2 and 3, the girls travelled to Niagara Falls to compete in the annual Lightning by the Falls Invitational competition. This was the first competition of the year for most of the girls, and judging by how many medals they accumulated, the falls certainly shed no tears.
For head coach Maria Code, competition season (lasting roughly January to May) is when the many hours of hard work pay off.“They’ve been training since September, six hours a week,” said Code. “They’re there every week, throughout Christmas and the breaks, getting ready for their competitions. That’s what they look forward to every year.”
The awards garnered last week include: 1st place on beam and 3rd on bars for Madelyn Halstead; 3rd place on bars for Fiona Bevan; 2nd place on bars for Kara Dietrich; 2nd place on vault and 3rd all around for Camryn Goodall; 3rd place on vault, bars, beam and floor for Shawntanna Atkinson; 3rd place on floor for Alison Saulesleja; 1st place on beam for Natalie Mayer; 3rd place on bars and all around for Kayla Frey; 2nd place on vault for Trinity Barnes, and 1st on vault and beam for Julia Code.
And, in case that wasn’t enough hardware, the Level 3 team walked away with a 2nd place team award.
That’s plenty of work for girls ranging from ages 7 to 14. Are they easy to work with? “They’re girls,” laughed Code. “They’re a lot of fun to work with. We have our days, but they try hard, they work hard, they’re focused when they’re in the gym and they’re a great bunch of girls.”
Aside from its obvious recreational pleasures, the sport offers plenty of practical benefits to the up-and-coming grade-school athlete.
“Gymnastics is a huge foundational sport. It works on your strength, it works on your balance, it works on your coordination, and grows motor skills.”
She continued, “So many kids do it at such a young age because it helps them develop into other sports as well. They can always be stronger and more flexible, and that’s beneficial for any sport, not just gymnastics.”
For the Woolwich Gymnastics Club, the next stop is Orangeville, where they will hit the beams for a competition April 26-27.