The mixed experience of Provincials for GymZone athletes
by Randy Pascal
The Ontario Gymnastics Championships, hosted from April 7th to the 10th by the Futures Gymnastics Club (Mississauga), offered a little mix
of everything for those representing the GymZone Sudbury Laurels.
The four person local contingent (Nikka Valentim had also qualified, but was unable to compete due to injury) was led by Kayla Folz, as the
young gymnast became the first Sudbury native to qualify for nationals, in the women’s artistic stream, in just under 20 years.
Folz (Level 10 Age 16+) earned a gold medal on her floor routine, and added a 7th place finish on the beam, and 8th on the vault, placing 6th in the
all-around standings. That would merit Folz a spot on Team Ontario, competing at the Canadian Championships in Edmonton from May 31st to June
Qualifying for the event finals on both floor and vault, Folz added a silver medal in the top-eight showdown on the former, and fourth place ribbon on
the latter. These are the heights that both Marisol Toupin and Rachel Uguccioni hope to aspire to some day.
The Level 7 Age 12 duo were competing at their first ever provincials, on the heels of dealing with a bout of the flu in the days leading up to the
event. Despite the challenge, both young ladies provided a solid account of themselves, gaining valuable experience, with Toupin returning home with a
bronze medal in the vault.
Seventeen year-old Patricia Hunt, however, was approaching the competition with substantially more of a melancholic approach. The grade 12 student
at Collège Notre-Dame will be leaving the world of competitive gymnastics behind, as she pursues the next step in her studies, attending the
Physio-Therapy program at Collège Boréal in September.
“It’s bittersweet,” noted Hunt last week, completing one of the last formal workouts of her gymnastics career. “It’s my last one, I have to go full out –
I’ll never have another set of provincials. I learned to appreciate it more, because it goes by really fast.”
Qualifying for the all-Ontario meet for the second time in her career, and reminiscing of a highlight 9.80 score on the floor that she received while
attending the OFSAA Championships in grade 10, Hunt wore her emotions on her sleeve as she contemplated life beyond the GymZone.
“My friends – I made such great friends, all of the memories along the way,” she acknowledged softly. “Just being here. It’s like my second home, being
here every day, right after school. It’s really going to be different.”
Hunt would make the most of her final appearance at provincials, earning a fourth place ribbon on the floor, and a 6th place ribbon on the vault.