Smithers Saltos gymnast and instructor Shawni Hayhurst

Smithers gymnast brings back medals at Summer Games

Smithers Saltos gymnast and instructor Shawni Hayhurst travelled to Kamloops to compete in the Western Canadian Summer Games on August 13 and 14, and came home with some new hardware to weigh down her luggage.

Smithers Saltos gymnast and instructor Shawni Hayhurst travelled to Kamloops to compete in the Western Canadian Summer Games on August 13 and 14, and came home with some new hardware to weigh down her luggage.

On the Saturday, August 13, she competed on a team of six B.C. gymnasts, in the provincial team competition, against teams from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The top four scores in each event counted towards a total score, and B.C. was in second place at the end of the team competition. Hayhurst said the chance to compete in a group was a refreshing change of pace.

“We had a lot more team spirit, I guess you could say. Normally gymnastics is an individual sport, so having to compete as a team got us really pumped,” she said.

The top eight athletes in each discipline qualified to compete in individual finals on Sunday, and Hayhurst made the cut in three of the four events. By the end of the weekend, she had finished in a tie for fifth in floor, and with a bronze in vault and silver on the beam, despite admitting how nervous she felt in the days leading up to the competition.

“I went into it not expecting huge things, and then I was kind of surprised how well I did,” she said.

Hayhurst said competing at the games was a great experience, both for the chance to meet new people, and for the opportunity to compete against new gymnasts.

“It was good to see other people. We’ve never seen any of those gymnasts really, because we only really compete against people in the province. It was really good competition, there were a lot of high level gymnasts there,” she said.

One of the aspects to adapt to competing at the Games was having two coaches for the whole gymnastics team. Although she had three days to train under the coaches, she took heart that her coach in Smithers, Alana Jensen, made the trip to the games, along with another friend and some family.

“It was good that my coach came down, and one of my teammates, so I had their support as well as my parents,” she said.

Hayhurst will spend the coming months teaching at the Saltos club, as well as training. The competition season begins in January, and she plans to try out for Nationals in 2012.

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