The Southeast Alaska Gymnastics Academy (SAGA) hosted an invitational meet, Saturday, May 19, when they welcomed the women’s team from Whitehorse, Yukon. Whitehorse was successful in outscoring the Juneau athletes; however the meet provided a valuable opportunity for SAGA’s younger gymnasts and recent team additions, to experience their first competitive meet.
The Whitehorse/Juneau invitational is an annual event where coaches and gymnasts are eager to show off new skills and routines, and to be judged under the Canadian scoring system. There are several differences between the U.S and Canadian scoring, most significantly with regard to the structure of the levels, required skills, and value of mandatory deductions for errors. Canada scores out of a 15 point start value (per apparatus); whereas the U.S. uses a 10 point start value.
At the pre-one level, Ruchi Haight- JNU, won first in the vault and tied for first in the all-around with Kadience Bernaldo- JNU, with a score of 45.9. Bernaldo also won first in uneven bars. Kara Strong- JNU took first for her floor work, and Abigail Booten- JNU earned first on the beam.
In level one, Kaylani Tupou- JNU, took first in vault, and also won the all-around with a score of 49.6. Sydney Strong- JNU, won first for bars, beam and floor, taking second in the all-around with a 49.1, and Sage Walker- JNU finished third in the all-around with a 48.4, and Megan Lujan took fourth in the all-around with a 48.1, including second place finishes on floor and vault.
In level two, Whitehorse standout, Megan Banks won first place in the all-around with a score of 53.4. Banks won first in vault, beam and floor. Anisa Albisser- WH, placed second with a total of 52.25, including second place finishes for vault, beam and floor. Juneau’s Cadence Campbell took first on the bars, and finished fourth in the all-around with 50.35; Renee Winn- JNU, took third in vault, Molly Brocious- JNU took third on both the beam and in the all-around.
In level three, Whitehorse’s Caitlyn Venasse won all-around with a total of 55.4 points. Fayne O’Donovan- WH, impressed with her floor routine, scoring 14.2, and finishing second in the all-around with 53.9. Lena Kawakami-JNU, placed second with her beam routine, and finished fourth in the all-around, scoring 51.5. Naomi Welling- JNU won first place for her uneven bar routine.
The Juneau boys team also competed at the invitational, in order to gain competition experience; Whitehorse does not have a boys team. Kaden Harris took first for the high bar as well as in the pommel horse and rings. Harris won the all-around with a score of 84. Crispin Campbell won first on the parallel bars and floor and placed second with his all-around score of 81.2. Izzy Aulger won first for the vault, third in the all-around.
Coach Alexis Howard said of the meet, “We were very proud of all our gymnasts. We had several brand new competitors and they did an excellent job. A big thank you to the Whitehorse team for traveling to compete with us. We can’t wait to see how the girls improve over the next few weeks when we will travel to compete with Whitehorse again in Canada.” The SAGA athletes head to Whitehorse June 8-11.