Boys so important for Tampa success

Tomorrow a local gymnastics team
heads to Florida
to represent Cayman.

Some 20 local gymnasts are headed
to the annual Gasparilla Classic in Tampa.
Cayman will have both boys and girls competing until Sunday at the Tropicana
Field stadium.

The event is typically one of the
largest in South Florida. Cayman has sent
squads in years past that brought back team and individual trophies.

Making this year’s classic extra
special is the boys team, who are the first male side to represent Cayman
abroad.

The boys squad consists of Marco
Elverdal, Mikah’il Grant, Jackson Kirkconnell, Robby Rutkowski and Christopher
Touhey.

As team head coach Kelley Paz
states, the youngsters bonded together thanks to hard work and training under
Sorin Rad at Motions Unlimited gym.

“Our boys team was hand picked from
our class program by our boys team coach Sorin Rad,” Paz said. “Sorin is from Romania
and has been putting a great deal of time and effort into preparing these boys
for competition.

“They have been training three days
a week as well as some private training for the meet. Sorin has been working
very hard to bring attention to boys’ gymnastics on the island. 

“He has now started a new boys’
hotshot program with the intention of building a larger boys team to compete in
the future.  It is a very exciting time for Motions as we have never had a
boys team.”

Like their female counterparts (who
are coached by Heather Waisanen) the boys have been in heavy training leading
up to this weekend. There might not have been public events to help with the
build-up this year but Paz states the boys had plenty of training.

“All of our athletes have been
putting in some extra hours in the gym for this competition,” Paz said. “We
have been adding some new conditioning and flexibility training. We also had a
Holiday Showcase in December which gave the athletes the opportunity to perform
in front of a crowd.

“Our training now also consists of
doing a “show” routine where the gymnasts perform their individual
routines while their team-mates and coaches watch as if they are in a competition.”

Accompanying the boys is a girls’
side with some 15 team-members in Destiny Campbell, Fiona Cockhill, Hilary
Cockhill, Giselle Ebanks, Arielle Farley, Jade Hernandez, Lauren Hill, Abigail
Lindsay, Jessica Lloyd, Morgan Lloyd, Chanel Parchment, Sami Peene, Raegan
Rutty, Katie Scott and Haley Wilkom.

As Paz states the sport is looking
to grow here in Cayman and this weekend’s event can help achieve that goal.

“The meet is important for the kids
because there has to be a goal at the end of each training session,” Paz said.
“The gymnasts perform the same routines on a daily basis in order to be able to
compete in front of judges and receive a score.  It is very important for
them to be able to see where their strengths and weaknesses are so that they
may improve for the next competition.

“It is a totally different scenario
from being in a familiar gym. It is important for our kids to see other kids
out there who share the same passion for gymnastics.”

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