With the largest Motions Unlimited team this competitive season, the 30th annual Gasparilla Classic Invitational meet attracted a record number of participants, with nearly 5,000 gymnasts from across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and South and Central America attending last month.
Motions coaches Kelley Paz, Alison Laidler, Doran Zimmerman and Kenzie Brown expertly led the gymnasts on their quest for gold at the Tropicana Field stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida.
For their first overseas competitive meet, the level 2 girls’ team of Sarah Godwin, Emily Ching, Azania Osbourne, Annabelle Olenyik and Siena Clemens-Orr sparkled on the award stage with their giant golden first place team trophy. Emily also won a second place silver medal for her floor routine.
Another first place team trophy was won by the level 3 group of Tianna Ebanks, Alex Owen, Sienna Santiago, Naomi Tibbetts, Natalie Bodden and Bethany Hawkins. Racking up the medal count was Natalie Bodden with a second place silver medal on floor and Bethany Hawkins with two first place gold medals on beam and floor, a bronze on bar plus a second place all-around trophy.
For the level 4 girls, the dynamic duo of Maddalena Polloni and Sophia Simpson both earned top ten finishes with Maddalena capturing a bronze on vault.
In the Xcel competitive sessions, the Xcel Silver team of Ava Hickey, Sofia Hanson, and Flynne Lunt performed well with a bronze third place team trophy from their early morning session.
Next up, the Xcel Gold team of Meaghan Fowler, Sarah Bush, Morgan Crowley, Mia VanDevelde, Emmi Daykin, Ciara Bradley and Gabriella Royston joined the ranks of the large team competitors. Morgan dazzled with a 1st place gold medal on vault and first place all-around trophy in her SR C age group. Beside Morgan on the stage was Meaghan with a second place all-around trophy along with bronze medals on vault, beam and floor. Emmi impressed with a one-two punch of first place gold on beam and second place silver on floor among the SR A gymnasts. With an injury after her first event, Sarah vaulted a top ten score before having to sit put on the sidelines for the rest of her events. Despite this setback, the Xcel Gold team was still able to triumph with a fifth place team trophy in the large team category.
Closing out the girls’ team competition was Xcel Platinum gymnast Jaiden Gilbert who stepped up to the stage to claim a second place silver medal on uneven bars and a top ten overall finish.
The boys’ team also struck gold in medals for the USAG junior Olympic levels competition. Igor Magalhaes triumphed with first place gold medals on vault and parallel bars, finishing with a third place all-around trophy in level 8. Karthik Adapa, competing at level 7, won a first place gold medal on the pommel horse before rounding out his session with a second place all-around trophy. Next, Kaleb Woolaver competing in level 6 routines and Alex Hare with level 4 routines topped up the medals haul with Alex earning a second place silver medal on vault and a top ten all-around finish.
Coming up next for the Motions Unlimited competitive gymnasts will be the Florida Crown Championships in Boca Raton, Florida this April and the Summer Extravaganza in May at the Motions facility on Sparkys Drive. Sami Peene and Igor Magalhaes will be competing at the Bermuda International Gymnastics Challenge, March 16-18 in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia in April and the Junior Pan American Championships in Argentina in June.