Gymnasts perform well at Gasparilla Classic in Florida

Cayman gymnasts had strong performances at the Gasparilla Classic in Florida last month.

Meaghan Fowler, Kelly Van der Bol, Maddalena Polloni and Arielle Farley brought home top honors as the first place Level 3 team at the Gasparilla Classic in St. Petersburg, Florida, from Feb. 19-21. Fowler also earned an individual bronze on beam.

Twenty two gymnasts from Cayman participated in the meet.

The Level 2 team earned second-place in the team competition for their division. Natalie Bodden, Bethany Hawkins, Tai Wammer, Talia Collett, Lauren Cridland, Laila Cassidy, Mia VanDevelde and Morgan Crowley recorded a number of personal best scores. Bodden earned silver on vault and bronze on bars to take third place all-around for her division. Bethany Hawkins earned bronze on vault and Morgan Crowley earned bronze on bars.

Cameron Doak, Jaiden Gilbert, Gabriella Royston, Emmi Daykin, Sarah Bush and Tyler Woolaver, the Level 4 team, also demonstrated skill and strength. Individual top three finishers were Daykin, with silver on beam and bronze on floor, Royston with bronze on bars and Doak with bronze on beam.

The compulsory team coaches for Motions Unlimited in Cayman, Alison Laidler and Kenzie Brown, were very pleased with the team and individual results at the meet.

Laidler said, “The girls have all been working hard in the gym and have demonstrated stronger results with each competition.”

The compulsory girls teams will have one more opportunity to compete in Florida in March before they begin focusing on adding skills for next season.

The boys also posted strong results in a competitive field at Gasparilla. Karthik Adapa, 11, posted top 10 finishes on floor, pommel, vault and rings to earn ninth place all-around in his first year competing in the Level 6 division.

Kaleb Woolaver, 8, placed eighth all-around in his division with top 10 finishes on all six events. Igor Magalhaes was out with an injury and was unable to compete at Gasparilla.

Coach John Leonard said, “The boys continue to progress as they add more difficulty and consistency in execution. They performed very well against tough competition in Florida.”

The Gasparilla Classic was the last U.S. invitational meet this season for Sami Peene and Raegan Rutty before they start preparing to qualify for international meets. Peene earned first place all-around and on bars, second on beam and third on floor, and Rutty earned bronze on vault, beam and bars, narrowly missing bronze all-around with a close fourth.

Peene and Rutty will travel to Montreal this week for Gymnix International and will then focus on earning the international qualifying scores they need to earn a spot at the Junior Pan American Championships in Bolivia in September and the Junior Commonwealth Championships in Namibia in October.

Motions Unlimited head coach Kelley Paz founded the Gasparilla Classic, which now hosts more than 3,500 gymnasts.

“It is great to return to Gasparilla with a large team from Cayman every year and to see the performance of the gymnasts continue to improve,” said Paz, who coaches Peene and Rutty and will travel to Gymnix with them this week.