The Cayman Islands were well represented at the recent Gaspirilla Invitational in Tampa, one of the region’s premier gymnastics competitions. The Motion Unlimited team’s consistent excellence earned them first-place trophies in every level they were entered in.
Among the outstanding performances were all-around victories at Levels 3, 4 and 5.
The Level 2s were the first to compete and produced a strong showing. Sydney Riley’s amazing 9.950 score on Vault gave her the win. She also finished 3rd on bars with a 9.2. Morgan Lloyd’s 9.6 on vault was good enough for third which gave Cayman two of the top three positions on that event. Flynn Hope’s solid performances rounded out scores for the team placing and the Motions Unlimited Team captured first place in the small teams division.
Next up were the Level 3 athletes. Although the athletes competed in different groups (based on their age) the scores were cumulatively counted for the team division. In group two Arin Broderick had two second place finishes in beam (9.250) and floor (9.400). For group three Paige Flanagin led the charge with a first place finish on bars (9.200). Her second and third place finishes on beam and floor gave her the edge and she was first all around. Minelli Tibbetts also had an outstanding meet and was second on vault (9.300), third on bars (9.000) and tied for third on beam (8.825). She finished third in the all around. She edged out team-mate Abigail Lindsay by a mere tenth of a point. Although she just missed the top three all-around trophies Abby still had a great meet tying for third on vault (9.250) and beam (8.825). Newcomer to the team, Alice Narborough finished second on floor with a score of 9.200. The Level 3 girls added another first place trophy in the small teams division.
Fielding the only large squad for Cayman was the Level 4 girls. Again these girls competed in different groups and had fine showings in each group. In group 2 Hilary Cockhill’s first place finish on bars (8.550), second on vault (9.150) and second on beam (8.550) clinched her third place all-around trophy. In group 3 Ciara Jackson dominated and secured another all-around title with two first place finishes on beam (9.125) and bars (8.850) and two third place finishes on floor (9.250) and vault (9.550). On vault she tied with team-mate Katie Scott who finished third in the all around. In addition to her third place vault tie, Katie was third on bars (8.675), and tied for second place on beam (8.900). Rounding out the group-three girls was teammate Hannah Ebanks. In group 4 two gymnasts competed: Ella Robertson and Adah Grant who were second and third respectively in the all-arounds. Ella finished second on vault (9.200) and bars (8.300) and third on beam (8.525) and Adah finished second on beam (8.675) and third on floor (9.200). The level 4 girls added the third first place team trophy for Motions Unlimited with a lead of more than 2 points over the second place team.
At Level 5 there was no team but Bethany Dikau claimed first placed in the all-around and also had two first place finishes on vault (8.900) and floor (9.000) and a second place finish on bars (8.400). Unfortunately, Cayman’s level 6 athlete, Bianca Alberga, was unable to compete due to illness.
The gymnasts are already back at work in their Grand Cayman gym. ‘I am extremely proud of each one of our girls,’ said Janine Olaso, a team coach. ‘They have been working extremely hard in the gym and their hard work certainly paid off. What they accomplished at this meet was amazing. The most exciting thing for me was to see how excited they were to get back in the gym and work on the skills they had trouble with and begin learning new skills. This just goes to show how dedicated and passionate they are to this sport. With this attitude, they will be able to accomplish anything they set their minds on. It is an honor to be their coach and I look forward to working with them to accomplish their goals.’
‘I am so proud of these girls,’ echoed Sandra Alberga, owner of Motions Unlimited Gym where the team trains. ‘They sure have come a long way. I would like to thank the coaches who have spent long hours in the gym preparing these girls for the competition, and, of course, the parents. Without their support and interest, these kids would not have been able to pursue their dreams.’