The Smithers Saltos ended their competition season last weekend with a trip to Kelowna for the Ogopogo Invitational gymnastics meet, which included about 30 clubs from B.C., Alberta and Ontario.
Four Smithers gymnasts made the trek, including Shawni Hayhurst, Stephanie Bandstra, Devyn Young and Shaelyn Radu.
In a field of over 30 Level 1 competitors, Young and Radu performed strongly, according to head coach Alana Jensen. Radu finished eighth on the beam.
“It was their first major competition,” she said.
Level 5 gymnast Bandstra was injured for most of the year, with the Ogopogo meet being her first competition of the season. She finished in tenth place on the beam and bars.
Hayhurst, also a Level 5 gymnast, had one of her most consistent meets to date, finishing first in vault, third on the floor and beam, and tying Bandstra for tenth on bars, resulting in a fifth place overall finish. The placing also qualified her for the Western Canadian Summer Games, to be held in Kamloops in August.
Hayhurst said it was her highest marks ever earned in the vault, and the chance to expand her skills is part of what attracts her to the sport.
“There’s always something to learn. It’s always exciting,” she said.
She’s also teaching younger gymnasts at the Saltos gym, and plans to spend the next year training and coaching for the club. She said teaching has helped her gain new perspective.
“I respect my coach a lot more,” she said.
Hayhurst has set some goals for herself in the Western Canadian Summer Games, and said she hopes to meet them by staying confident and calm. Her goals are to “place in everything, and have the same consistency I had in all my routines in Kelowna.”