Saltos’ BC Winter Games athletes.

Saltos’ BC Winter Games athletes.

Saltos gymnasts headed for Winter Games in Vernon

The Smithers Saltos Gymnastics Club will be attending this year’s BC Winter Games with five athletes.

The Smithers Saltos Gymnastics Club will be attending this year’s BC Winter Games with five athletes competing from the Northwest, the first time Saltos has fielded a full team.

Ali Smaha-Muir, Pyper Burns, Chandler Young, Ashlynn Jackson Grace Allen and Maddie Moran will be heading to Vernon Feb. 23-26 to represent the Northwest in Gymnastics and with this year’s new division levels Smithers is at the top of the heat to bring home some hardware.

“I’m excited,” said Jackson. “There’s not a lot of pressure like other meets ‘cause you’re not expected to do as well. We’re still planing on trying our hardest, but people compete down from national level so it’s more of a fun competition.”

Each athlete will compete both as an individual competitor and also with their squad, and Smithers is hoping to nail the team competition.

“This year will be really good because we’re bringing a full team, which we haven’t done in a really long time.”

This year the BC Winter Games have changed the ranking system used to determin skill level. Which is now going to make for a more even playing field. This year Saltos will be traveling with some of the best athletes they’ve had to date and will be looking to capture a couple of medals.

“I hope we represent our team well,” Jackson said. “We want to do well on our routines and stick them.”

With the new changes the Winter Games have made the experience similar to what athletes would see at a Western or National level, a different competition layout that some athletes may not be accustom to yet. Despite that, head coach Alana Jensen thinks the team is in top condition and is hopeful her gymnasts will put up some high scores and win a medal.

“I hope that they just have a strong team competition and we can get some good scores towards our team total.” Said Jensen.” It’s kind of hard to predict what everyone is going to do with this new level system, so we’ll get a feeling and see after that. We do have a lot stronger gymnasts now so maybe we’ll get an individual medal.”