Gymnasts conquer first-meet jitters

Dave Mathieson
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AMHERST - The first meet of the season offers the perfect opportunity for athletes to gauge their skill level and that's exactly what the Amherst Aerials Gymnastics Club gymnasts did last weekend in Charlottetown at the Prince Edward Classic.
"Some of the girls did really well and some of the girls had a very rough meet but that's what this meet is for," Aerials gymnastics coach Michelle Landry said. "It provides the opportunity for them to work out the kinks and the nerves."
For several of the gymnasts, it was the first time they entered a gymnastics competition.
"Interestingly, some of our returning girls didn't do so well and it was the gymnasts with the least experience who really shined," Landry said.
She points to Marissa Perley as one novice athlete that came through in the clutch.
"She brought a few things she struggled with in the gym and she was able to do them at the meet," Landry said. "Some kids are like that. They get to a meet and the adrenaline will help them, while for others the adrenaline will make them panic."
First-time competitor Carly Holloway had a bad case of the nerves to overcome.
"She was really nervous but she did really well," Landry said.
This year the club has two boys on its competitive roster, Kyle Johnson and Joey Carignan, and she was impressed with their performance.
"They were right up their with the rest of the Maritimes. They did really well and we are very proud of them," Landry said. "They are brand new to gymnastics and it was and experiment for us as well because we've never coached boys at a meet."
Johnson has competed on the trampoline before but this was his first time at a gymnastics meet.
"I was pretty nervous," Johnson said.
Though he doesn't like the pommels, he did place second in the event. His favourite events are the vault and the parallel bars in which he placed first and fifth, respectively.
Next up for the gymnasts is the Taiso Atlantic Cup on Feb. 13 and Feb. 14 in Lower Sackville.
"For the girls who didn't do well, I'd have to say their work ethic played a role," Landry said. "But they are working a whole lot harder now and the nerves are out, the first-meet jitters are over, so we expect they'll do better at the next meet."
Jenna Porter competed in the Open 2 category and finished second overall. She placed second in the vault, fifth in the bars, second on the beam and fourth in the floor.
Ellen Gaudet also competed in the Open 2 category and finished seventh overall. She placed seventh in the vault, eighth in the bars, fifth on the beam and seventh in the floor.
Cara Polegato competed in the Open 2 category and finished eighth overall. She placed eighth in the vault, seventh on the bars, eighth on the beam and eighth in the floor.
In the Novice 1 division Marissa Perley was second in the vault, third on bars, second on the beam and second in the floor.
Carly Holloway also competed in the Novice 1 division. She placed first in the vault, third in the bars, second on the beam and third in the floor.
In the Level 1, 10-and-older boys division Kyle Johnson finished fifth overall, placing first on the vault, second on the pommels, fourth on the rings, fifth on the parallel bars and eighth on the high bar.
Joey Carignan also competed in the Level 1, 10-and-older boys division. He finished eighth overall and placed fourth on the floor, fifth on the pommels and high bar, sixth on the vault, seventh in the rings and eighth on the parallel bars.

Organizations: Amherst Aerials Gymnastics Club

Geographic location: AMHERST, Charlottetown, Lower Sackville

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