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Archive: January 2006

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FEBRUARY 11 – MEN’S COMMONWEALTH GAMES TEAM NAMED

Canada's top male gymnasts competed yesterday at the Jurassic Classic, held at the University of Calgary. Up for grabs were five spots at the upcoming Commonwealth Games (Melbourne, Australia), with scores from Jurassic added to those earned two days prior at the first round of trials, held at the Calgary Gymnastics Centre. Grant Golding (177.40) and Nathan Gafuik (176.20) earned automatic berths to the team, placing first and second in the all-around standings, respectively. The pair train at the University of Calgary.

Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique also named the third and fourth place all-around finishers to the team, Adam Wong (174.70) of the Calgary Gymnastics Centre and David Kikuchi (173.00) of Taiso Gymnastics in Halifax. Kikuchi is the lone member of the team not training in Alberta. Rounding out the team is 2004 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Shewfelt, who impressed not only on his specialties, vault and floor, but also on high bar where he posted the second best score.


FEBRUARY 9 – GOLDING LEADS AA; SHEWFELT PERFECT ON VAULT AT COMMONWEALTH GAMES TRIALS

Olympic floor exercise champion Kyle Shewfelt of Calgary made a spectacular return to competition today at the Commonwealth Games trials in Calgary, scoring a perfect 10 in execution for his Yurchenko 2 ½ vault. Shewfelt, who has not competed since his Olympic triumph nearly two years ago in Athens, earned a combined 16.8 score for his vault, as well as a 15.2 on floor exercise to take the top scores on both events. On floor exercise, Shewfelt edged out recent world silver medallist Brandon O’Neill of Edmonton who scored a 14.90.

Leading the all-around standings after day one is 2004 Canadian all-around champion Grant Golding of Calgary, who totaled 88.50 across six events, followed by Halifax’s David Kikuchi (87.80), 2005 Canadian champion Adam Wong of Calgary (86.60), and Edmonton’s Jared Walls (86.40). The top two all-around finishers following tomorrow’s competition will automatically be named to the team, with the other members being selected based on scores on specific events. In addition to his all-around lead, Golding also earned the top scores of the day on pommel horse (14.8), still rings (15.60), and parallel bars (14.80), tied with Abbotsford’s Ken Ikeda. The best performer on high bar was Nathan Gafuik of Calgary, who scored a 14.90.

Competition concludes tomorrow night at 7:00 at the University of Calgary, with the second phase of trials coinciding with the Jurassic Classic.


FEBRUARY 5 – WOMEN’S COMMONWEALTH GAMES TEAM NAMED

Gymnastics Canada Gymnastique confirmed the women’s Commonwealth Games team following the second day of competition at Gymnastics Mississauga. Representing Canada in Melbourne next month will be Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca, Alyssa Brown of Gymnastics Mississauga, Gael Mackie of Omega Gymnastics, Brittnee Habbib of Gemini and Jenna Kerbis of the Brandon Eagles. Team selection was based on a point system which took into account apparatus and all-around rankings over the two days of competition, with day one worth 65% and day two 35%. Hopfner-Hibbs improved upon her day one effort by hitting all four events today to rank first overall, followed by Brown (with whom she tied on day one in terms of all around score, but trailed based on the points system) who hit three very strong events but suffered two falls from the balance beam. Mackie fell on her Markelov release on the uneven bars, but hit elsewhere to grab the third spot ahead of Habbib, who struggled on balance team today (three falls and only a back tuck dismount) after being so solid on Friday. Taking the last spot was Kerbis, who was solid on vault and bars, but had falls on beam and floor. Still she earned enough points to edge out Crystal Gilmore, who had three strong events today, but had two falls on floor, leaving her in the alternate position.

Perhaps the most excited person in the building when the team was named was Kerbis’ coach Lorie Henderson. When asked about her feelings on her gymnast qualifying for the Commonwealth Games, she told Gymn.ca “it’s the best thing that’s ever happened in my life!” She said that it’s been un uphill battle for her gymnast, and she finally made it, adding that Kerbis’ parents took out a second mortgage on their home to help finance her training and travel expenses this year. Kerbis herself said that she was “really excited” about making the team. When asked how she thought she could contribute to the team effort in Melbourne, she noted that her best events are normally beam and floor (though they gave her trouble this week-end), and that her consistency on vault and bars could also be useful. Kerbis has a scholarship at Bringham Young University, but has deferred her entrance by a year in order to try out for international competition. She hopes to continue to compete in the Canadian system even after entering college, with the possibility of trying for the 2008 Olympics still on her mind.

Another gymnast who definitely has Beijing 2008 in her plans is 2000 Olympian Gilmore, who just missed qualifying for her second Commonwealth Games team. Gilmore, who competed at the 2005 Canadian Championships in the National Open category said that one of her goals at this meet was to show people that she really was serious about her gymnastics again. She was frank about her future goals in the sport: “I want to get back to the Olympics again.” Gilmore is well aware of the importance of being prepared in the alternate roll, having been called on at the last minute at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney following an injury in podium training to teammate Emilie Fournier.

Gymn.ca also had the chance today to speak to Aisha Gerber and her coach Elvira Saadi about their decision not to participate in the Commonwealth Games. Saadi was quick to point out that Commonwealth Games was not in their game plan this year, regardless of being invited to the American Cup. They are reworking her bar routine with some new skills for the new code of points and was not ready to compete on that event this week-end. They would rather concentrate on training and getting new routines ready, and said that traveling to the American Cup for a one week-end meet would be less disruptive than the three weeks needed to travel and compete in Australia. Saadi acknowledges that her athlete is still young and has other long term goals that they are aiming towards and that they want to keep her healthy for other competitions later this year, including the Pacific Alliance Championships scheduled for April, as well as this fall’s world championships.

Seneca’s Carol-Angela Orchard was named as head coach for the Commonwealth Games team, and it is expected that Brown’s coach Alex Bard will be named as the other official team coach.


FEBRUARY 3 – HOPFNER-HIBBS AND BROWN LEAD DAY ONE OF COMMONWEALTH TRIALS

Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs of Sport Seneca and Alyssa Brown of the host Gymnastics Mississauga club are tied for first place in the all-around standings following the first night of competition at the Commonwealth Games trials. Both gymnasts earned a combined 55.00 points in the first competition in Canada to use the new code of points – which awards two marks – an A score for difficulty and element requirements added to a B score from 10.0 for execution. Brown took the highest scores on three events: vault (14.85 for a Yurchenko 1 ½ – the highest score of the day on any event); uneven bars (13.6 with a Maloney-Pak, giant 1 ½ to Tkatchev, double layout) and floor (13.80 with piked full-in, 1 ½ through to 2 ½, whip-whip through to double pike). A fall on beam on a layout-layout series left her with a 12.75 total.

Hopfner-Hibbs took her highest mark on the balance beam – a 14.05 which was good enough for the best score of the day on the event, despite a fall on her tour jete ½. She was solid for most of the rest of her routine however, including a new front handspring to two feet mount, her trademark aerial cartwheel to layout-layout series, and double tuck dismount. She struggled on bars, twice going over handstands on the low bar and hitting the feet on the mat. Her 6.1 A score was however the highest A score of the day on any event. She fell forward on her double pike last line on floor, after tumbling a nice piked full-in, Arabian double front, and a 1 ½ twist punch front-full. Interestingly, Hopfner-Hibbs had the highest combined A score of the day by 0.7, totaling 22.90 across four events versus 22.20 for Brown.

Finishing in third was Omega’s Gael Mackie, who hit nicely on vault (Yurchenko-full, scoring 13.95) and bars (13.4 – a nice Markelov, Jaeger, and double front dismount), but had a fall on beam and also on her double pike last series on floor. Her all-around score was a 53.40, well back of the top two. Interestingly, she tied with Hopfner-Hibbs on the B score (both gymnasts earned 32.10 across four events) but lost ground with her A score (21.30).

Brittnee Habbib of Gemini ranks fourth after day one, the only gymnast not to count a fall. Her balance beam routine was particularly solid (nice layout step-out mount, side somi, switch side leap with ½ turn), where she earned the second best beam score of the day (14.0). Her all-around score was 52.88. Finishing just behind Habbib in fifth was Jenna Kerbis of Brandon Eagles, who totaled 52.65 despite a fall on beam on an incomplete double turn, and on her double Arabian and double pike on floor. Her combined 21.60 A score – the third best of the day – helped her in the all-around standings. In sixth after day one, and on the comeback trail, was 2000 Olympian Crystal Gilmore now representing Taiso in Nova Scotia (she was also announced as representing her former club of Cambridge Kips) who totaled 52.15 in the all-around. She showed a high skill level across four events, including a double Arabian on floor she last competed in 1998. Errors on beam (she grabbed the beam to save a fall on a ¾ twisting Shushunova and also fell on one of her acro elements) kept her back but it was great to see her out there competing well and enjoying herself. Rounding out the field were Jennifer Lezeu - formerly of Cambridge and now at Gymnastics Mississauga (51.55 combined AA score) and Calgary’s Jordan Harvie (49.75). Lezeu impressed on floor, showing a nice triple twist and 2 ½ twist to punch front layout (13.45 for the fourth best FX score of the night), while Harvie had her best moments on beam (nice full twisting FF, Onodi, and Rulfova) – but did only layout dismounts off beam and bars, following a nasty fall on an attempted double back off beam in the warm-up.

Competing exhibition on three events, though not in contention for the Commonwealth Games team was Aisha Gerber of Cambridge Kips. Gerber is bypassing the Games with plans to compete instead at next month’s American Cup in Philadelphia. Still she impressed the audience with her skill level, including upgraded tumbling on floor (Arabian double, full-in, 1 ½ twist through to 2 ½ twist, triple twist) and an attempted Yurchenko double-full on vault (which the judges downgraded to a 1 ½).

Also noticeably absent from the Commonwealth Trials was Marci Bernholtz of ASF. Bernholtz, who missed last year’s world championships because of knee surgery, has been having trouble with fluid gathering in her knee and has decided to rest for now, instead focusing on upcoming competitions, including the world championships and the 2008 Olympics. Bernholtz, who is age eligible to start competing in college next season, has elected to defer her NCAA career in order to concentrate on training for a spot on the Olympic team. Bernholtz and her coach Paula Johnson are hopeful that she will be able to compete at Gymnix next month, and possibly at a World Cup event in Europe, as well as the Pacific Alliance Championships in April.

Rebecca Simbhudas of Pulsar's also withdrew from trials, nursing a sore back. Last October Simbhudas placed second on bars at the Salamunov Memorial World Cup event in Maribor, Slovenia.

Competition at the Commonwealth Games trials concludes on Sunday afternoon at 2:30, with the team to be named shortly after. Stay tuned for more news as well as videos from the event coming up soon.


JANUARY 28 – GYMNASTICS MISSISSAUGA TO HOST WOMEN’S COMMONWEALTH TRIALS

Gymnastics Mississauga will play host next week-end to many of the nations best female gymnasts as they battle for spots on the Commonwealth Games team. Competition begins at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 3rd and concludes with a second session at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. Gymnastics Mississauga is located at 1395 Mississauga Valley Blvd. (directions can be found via their website linke above) and tickets are available at the door for $10 per adult, $5 for seniors and students 16 and under.

The following gymnasts are scheduled to participate:

Jennifer Lezeu (Gymnastics Mississauga)
Gael Mackie (Omega Gymnastics Academy)
Jordan Harvie (Calgary Gymnastics Centre)
Crystal Gilmore (Taiso Gymnastics)
Cynthia Lemieux (Gym-Richelieu)
Rebecca Simbhudas (Pulsars Gymnastics Club)
Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (Sport Seneca)
Alyssa Brown (Gymnastics Mississauga)
Jenna Kerbis (Brandon Eagles)
Brittney Habbib (Gemini Gymnastics)
Aisha Gerber (Cambridge Kips)


JANUARY 15 – KERBIS WINS 2006 WOGA CLASSIC

Jenna Kerbis at the
2003 Canada Winter Games
Photo courtesy of Grace Chiu

Jenna Kerbis of the Brandon Eagles has taken gold at the 2006 WOGA Classic, held yesterday afternoon in Plano, TX. Kerbis won the senior women's AA with a score of 52.850, nearly two points ahead of the home club's Christine Nguyen. The bronze medal went to Japan's Izithi Hana (50.850). Event titles were also awarded based on performances at Saturday's all-around competition, with Kerbis' beam (14.250) and floor (12.950) scores taking gold. 

Jordan Harvie of the Calgary Gymnastics Centre also competed at the WOGA Classic, placing tenth overall. Her best result came on beam, where she took the silver medal with a score of 14.200.

Kerbis has signed with Brigham Young University, but has deferred a year to pursue elite assignments.

WOGA is the home gym of reigning Olympic champion Carly Patterson and 2005 World silver AA medalist Nastia Liukin.

2006 WOGA Classic
Jan. 14, Allen, Texas

Senior All-Around
1. Jenna Kerbis CAN 52.850
2. Christine Nguyen (WOGA) 50.950
3. Izithi Hana JPN 50.850
4. Mana Ezaki JPN 50.400
5. Jessica Gazzi WAL 49.250
6. Sarah Miller NZL 49.100
7. Olivia Jobsis NZL 48.650
8. Charlotte Cosgrove WAL 48.400
9. Olivia Bryl WAL 47.600
10. Jordan Harvie CAN 47.400
11. Belinda Castles NZL 46.500
12. Rika Kurokawa JPN 45.100
13. Nana Takeda JPN 44.150

Senior Vault
1. Vanessa Schoelkopf (WOGA) 14.650
2. Jenna Kerbis CAN 13.960
2. Christine Nguyen (WOGA) 13.960

Senior Uneven Bars
1. Alice Barnett NZL 12.600
2. Izitha Hana JPN 12.400
2. Christine Nguyen (WOGA) 12.400

Senior Balance Beam
1. Jenna Kirbis CAN 14.250
2. Jordan Harvie CAN 14.200
3. Sarah Miller NZL 13.750

Senior Floor Exercise
1. Jenna Kirbis CAN 12.950
2. Sara Stone (Metroplex) 12.700
3. Mana Ezaki JPN 12.600



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