SAGA gymnasts showcase at Gold Rush Invitational

Gymnastics season ended back in March with the Alaska State championships, but you’d never know it, and neither do the gymnasts at Southeast Alaska Gymnastics Academy (SAGA). The team has continued training, working on new skills which they’ve been able to showcase at two recent meets. In April, the team travelled to the Yukon Championships, and competed with Polarettes Gymnastics Club, in Whitehorse. On May 18, Juneau hosted the Gold Rush Invitational, a tri-meet between Ketchikan Gymnastics Club, Polarettes Gymnastics Club (Whitehorse), and SAGA.


Juneau’s SAGA finished first in the meet with 149.2 points, the Whitehorse Polarettes took second with 146.7 and the Ketchikan Gymnastics Club third with 139.2.

47 gymnasts competed at the Gold Rush across two sessions, and were judged using the Canadian Provincial Program (CPP) for competition levels and scoring. The program scoring and structure differs from the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program SAGA subscribes to. The most significant difference is that the CPP does not have compulsory levels in which all gymnasts perform mandatory routines to the same uniform music. Instead, the gymnasts have can incorporate certain skills of their choice, and choreography that suits their style and plays to their strengths.

Coach Alexis Howard says of the CPP, “Most of our team still competes the USAG compulsory levels, so it’s really fun for them to have these meets with Whitehorse, where they can perform different skills, and play by their rules.”

Three different levels of skills of increasing difficulty were competed at the meet: Level P1 in the Canadian system features the least experienced, and typically the youngest athletes (roughly equivalent to levels 3 and 4 in the U.S.), and the more advanced levels, P2 and P3.

“We’ve hosted Whitehorse, for many years,” Howard said. “This time we went all out. We wanted to make it a bigger event, and invite Ketchikan too. The team and coaches, and all the parents worked really hard to put on a nice meet. It’s important that these teams have a good time and see that we do a good job hosting, so they want to keep coming back to Juneau.”

Gold Rush Invitational scores (J = Juneau; K = Ketchikan; W = Whitehorse), Team, Name, AA Score:

Level P1- Div A - J, Karmen Funderburk, 49.85; J, Audrey Welling, 49.55; J, Bridget Gehring, 48.7; J, Jeanne Lin Muller, 48.3; K, Annie Wilson, 46.4.

Level P1- Div B - J, Sage Walker, 49.6; W, Bianca Berko-Malvasio, 49.35; W, Alexis Benson, 49.1; J, Keelyn McDonald, 48.85; J, Lillian Bernaldo, 48.5; J, Kate DeBuse, 47; K, Maggie Mathews, 46.4.

Level P1- Div C - J, Abigail Booton, 49.75; J, Kaidence Bernaldo, 48.5; W, Ali Russell, 48.25; J, Kara Strong, 47.1; J, Solveig Wolter, 45.9; K, Shaelyn Mendoza, 45.6; J, Ruchi Haight, 45.4.

Level P1- Div D - J, Ava Brown, 48.55; J, Kylie Becker, 45.75; J, Megan Miller, 45.65; J, Cady Naegle, 44.55; J, Hannah Dawson, 42.6; J, Kelsey Barker, 42.15.

Level P2- Div A - W, Matisse Robertson , 47.6; W, Sydney Cairns, 46.3; W, Maggie Fekete, 46.3; K, Neva Garner, 45.4; J, Madeline Handley, 45.1; K, Charley Sessoms, 43.9.

Level P2- Div B - J, Sydney Strong, 47; J, Molly Brocious, 47; K, Reilly McCue, 46.4; J, Megan Lujan, 46.3; J, Rayna Gehring, 45.9.

Level P3- Div A - J, Anna Whisenant, 49.3; W, Megan Banks, 46.75; J, Lena Kawakami, 46.05; J, Reneé Urriuta-Winn, 44.3; K, Sharla Berry, 34.2.

Level P3- Div B - W, Emily King, 47.45; J, Cadence Campbell, 47.35; W, Anisa Albisser, 47.25; W, Jasmine Bergeron, 46.05; J, Julianna Kawakami, 45.9; K, Addison Sessoms, 44.5.


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