Gymnasts impress in Jamaica

The Cayman Islands sent a team of 27 gymnasts to the inaugural Caribbean Gymnastics Championships in Jamaica over the weekend and came away with a clutch of medals. 

The team competing at the National Sports Centre in Kingston included Cayman’s senior team of Morgan Lloyd, Sami Peene, Raegan Rutty and Igor Magalhaes, as well as a full team of junior girls and boys. 

Besides Jamaica, gymnasts from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Martinique also competed. 

The event is intended to promote gymnastics through team and individual competition and help build the sport throughout the region. 

Gymnasts compete at their respective levels, 1 to 10, as defined by a set of required skills that progress in difficulty with each level. 

The event also presented an opportunity for coaches and officials from the Caribbean to network and develop the sport in the region. 

The boys, under the guidance of coach John Leonard, all posted strong results in a small, but competitive field. 

Magalhaes traded first and second place with Brandon Gill from Barbados throughout the competition, ultimately taking the gold medal all-around. 

Sabastian Adapa, who turns 11 this month, and Kaleb Woolaver, 8, took gold and silver in the level 5 boys competition, and both earned medals in five of the six boys events. 

The senior girls team of Sami Peene, Morgan Lloyd and Raegan Rutty did well. Peene took the gold on beam and silver on bars and floor. Lloyd earned gold on floor and bronze on vault and bars, and Rutty took silver with an impressive Tsukahara vault. Head coach Kelley Paz coached the senior girls. 

Coach Alison Laidler’s team, who all competed at level 3 last year, also had a strong performance in their first level 4 competition. Destiny Campbell and Cameron Doak competed in the senior division; Campbell earned silver medals on vault and floor and bronze all-around and Cameron took the bronze on beam. 

In the level 4 junior division, Emmi Daykin took gold on beam and floor, and Gabriella Royston, Jaiden Gilbert and Sarah Bush kept Cayman on the podium, each earning a bronze medal on different events. Tyler Woolaver was also in the running with fourth place finishes on vault and bars. 

Coach Laidler and coach Kenzie Brown coach the level 3 team of RaeGene Holmes, Kelley Vanderbol, Maddalena Polloni, Arielle Farley, Meaghan Fowler and Anais Small. 

In the senior level 3 division, Holmes earned Cayman’s highest score of the meet with a 9.650, taking bronze in a three-way tie with girls from Trinidad. 

In the junior division, Maddalena Polloni earned a silver on beam and Kelley Vanderbol tied for bronze on floor. 

In the senior level 2 division, Morgan Crowley earned a gold medal for vault in a tie with Trinidad and Jamaica. 

In the juniors, Natalie Bodden picked up two bronze medals for vault and beam and Bethany Hawkins took the bronze on floor. 

The rest of the level 2 team including Tai Wammer, Sofia Bonati, Talia Collett, Lauren Cridland and Mia VanDevelde just skirted top three positions with fourth and fifth place finishes that also earned medals in a competitive field of level 2 entrants. 

Subsequent championships will be held by the various member countries every two years, and the Cayman Islands team is looking forward to participating in 2017. 

These championships represent the opening of this year’s competitive season which will run through to April. 

The full team will perform locally at Motions Unlimited’s Holiday Extravaganza in December, and the boys will travel to Texas for the Valeri Liukin Invitational in Texas. 

The season will continue in 2016 with meets in New York, Florida and Montreal. 

Cayman’s gymnastics team did exceptionally well in Jamaica.