Vernon’s Okanagan Rhythmic Gymnastics Club will be strongly represented at the upcoming Elite Canada competition in Vancouver Feb. 16-19.
The event, the most prestigious in Canada, is used to rank the national team and assign athletes to international competitions.
The small club from Vernon has qualified more athletes than all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba combined, and will have one of the largest teams at the event with six qualified athletes.
In the Junior category, Leila Girard, 11, and Pippa Hardy, 12, will both compete for the first time at the event, having qualified due to their outstanding placings last year in the Novice level. Also in the Junior category will be Noelle Brierley, 14, competing in her third Elite Canada. Brierley qualified after placing in the clubs apparatus final at last year’s national championships.
In the Senior category, Halle Moger, 19, will work to defend her spot on the senior national team for the fourth consecutive year. Moger is training while attending film school full-time. She is known across the country for her artistic performances, unique style and outstanding athleticism.
Joining her teammate in the Senior category will be Madeline Sellars, 16, who clinched a spot after an amazing performance at last year’s National Championships, including an eighth-place finish in the ball event.
Rounding out the team will be Camille Hardy, competing in the Senior category for the first time after a stellar performance last year in the Junior division. The event also hosts open group competition and individual Novice competition to allow up-and-coming gymnasts to gain experience.
In the Novice category, Nora McCoubrey, 11, will compete at a national level for the first time. The club will also be sending a Junior group consisting of Clara Cox, Anya Massa, Leila Girard, Hardy and Sarah Popowich and an open age group consisting of Kaylee Gauthier, Chelsea Kazimer, Sophia Sexton, Kaylee Stinn, Olivia Sexton and Julianne Derochie. Both groups will compete with 10 clubs apparatus.
In preparation for the event the team competed in San Jose, Cal. earlier this month with Massa scooping up a bronze medal in the ball event and Sellars taking home the bronze medal all-around.
Ahead of the Canada competition, they will be competing along with other athletes from across B.C. and Alberta at the annual Queen of Hearts Invitational Jan. 28 and 29 at the Vernon Recreation Centre.