Cayman girls win top trophy at Gasparilla gymnastics meet

The level 4 team, from left, Meaghan Fowler, Gabriella Royston, Sarah Bush (back), Emmi Daykin and Maddalena Polloni

The Motions Unlimited gymnastics team traveled to St. Petersburg, Florida, for the meet on Feb. 10-12. The invitational meet attracts more than 4,000 gymnasts from across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and South and Central America, according to a press release.

The girls team placed ahead of teams from Florida, Colombia and Trinidad. The girls also posted strong individual results, with Sarah Bush taking silver on vault and beam. Maddalena Polloni earned silver in her division on floor, and Emmi Daykin took bronze on beam.

The level 3 team of Morgan Crowley, Arielle Farley, Natalie Bodden, Bethany Hawkins, Mia VanDevelde and Tai Wammer took home the second-place team trophy, just behind Naples Progressive from Florida and ahead of teams from Trinidad and Colombia. Morgan Crowley earned two silver medals in the all-around and on beam and two bronze medals on vault and bars. Arielle Farley earned a silver on floor and a bronze on beam.

Raegan Rutty placed eighth all-around in her division against tough competition from Ohio, Kentucky, Georgia and Florida.

The boys also posted strong results at the competition. Igor Magalhaes earned a bronze on high bar in the level 8 division, and Karthik Adapa earned a bronze medal for his vault in the level 6 division. Igor, Karthik and Kaleb Woolaver all placed in the top 10 all-around in their respective divisions.

Holiday extravaganza for local gymnasts

Motions Unlimited hosted its largest ever annual Holiday Extravaganza on Saturday Nov. 25 at their gymnastics studio on Sparkys Drive. Thirty-seven boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 demonstrated skill, strength and grace for a local audience. More than 10 gymnasts joined the competitive team this year and demonstrated their new routines for the first time on Saturday.

Veterans Emmi Daykin, Gabriella and Tyler Woolaver mastered new skills and moved up to Level 5 in the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic program, and Jayden Gilbert hit level 6. Two gymnasts. Maddalena Polloni and Sophia Simpson advanced to Level 4. Natalie Bodden and Bethany Hawkins were joined by Sienna Santiago, Tianna Ebanks, Naomi Ebanks and Alex Owens who advanced to Level 3 from level 2 last season. Harper Nelson, Charlie Foster, Sarah Godwin, Azania Osborne, Sienna Clemens, Enily Ching and Annabelle Olenyik joined the competitive team this season and demonstrated their Level 2 routines.

In the USAG Xcel program, Flynn Lunt, Ava Hickey, Sofia Hanson, Kayla Parsons, Sophie Aitken and Kaya Ebanks will compete in Xcel Silver this season and veteran competitors Meaghan Fowler, Sarah Bush, Georgina Hayman, Tai Wammer, Mia VanDevelde, Morgan Crowley and Ciara Bradley will compete optional routines at the Xcel Gold level.

In the boys division, Alex Hare joined the competitive team at Level 4 and each of Kaleb Woolaver, Karthik Adapa and Igor Magalhaes advanced one level in the USAG Junior Olympic Program to Level 6, 7 and 8 respectively. The boys were in top form after competing at the Judges’ Cup competition in Atlanta earlier in November.

Sami Peene demonstrated preliminary routines that she is hoping to compete with at Commonwealth Games in April 2018 alongside teammate Raegan Rutty, who is currently training in Texas.

The girls Level 3-6 team will close out 2017 at the Gymstrada competition in Virginia Beach, Dec. 1-3, and the team will continue their overseas competitive season in the new year. All 37 competitive gymnasts will compete at the Gasparilla Classic meet which hosts over 3,000 athletes at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida in February.

Motions Gymnasts victorious in Virginia Beach

Cayman gymnasts representing Motions Unlimited continued their competitive season at the 2017 Gymstrada Invitational in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Dec. 2 and 3. Led by Coach Alison Laidler and head Coach Kelley Paz, the team pioneered the way as the first international gymnastics group to participate in this meet.

From left, Bethany Hawkins (Level 3), Georgina Hayman (Xcel Gold), Sophia Simpson (Level 4)

Competing Xcel Gold routines, Mia VanDevelde and Morgan Crowley were victorious with a gold and silver medal respectively on vault, while teammate Georgina Hayman snatched silver on her floor routine.

Among tough competition in the USGA Junior Olympic levels, Bethany Hawkins took home top ten medals finishing 8th overall in her age division for level 3. Maddalena Polloni and Sophia Simpson showcased their Level 4 routines earning top ten finishes while Gabriella Royston and Emmi Daykin rounded out the competition with level 5 routines placing 14th and 16th respectively in their age divisions.

The next meet for the girls team will be the Metroplex Challenge, Jan. 26-28 in Fort Worth, Texas. The boys will also compete at the Windy City Invite in Chicago, Jan. 12-14, and the entire team with many new competitive gymnasts will represent Cayman at the highly anticipated 30th anniversary Gasparilla Classic, Feb. 23 – 25, in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Mia VanDevelde and Morgan Crowley take gold and silver on vault in the Xcel Gold Division.
Mia VanDevelde and Morgan Crowley take gold and silver on vault in the Xcel Gold Division.

Gymnasts go for the gold at Gasparilla Invitational 2018

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.

Hard work pays off for Cayman gymnasts

The Motions Unlimited Boys gymnastics team recently returned from a Judges Cup competition in Atlanta, Georgia, which ran Nov. 10-12. This season, athletes Kaleb Woolaver, Karthik Adapa and Igor Magalhaes were selected to compete in new, more difficult levels. Each proved to the judges that their hard work ethic in the gym had paid off.

Level 6 gymnast Kaleb had a few falls, but managed to get up every time and complete all six routines well. He said, “it was a great opportunity as I made a lot of friends that share a common interest and love for the sport of gymnastics. I also benefited a lot from what the judges had to say during their critique of my routines.”

Cayman gymnasts Kaleb Woolaver, Karthik Adapa and Igor Magalhaes
Cayman gymnasts Kaleb Woolaver, Karthik Adapa and Igor Magalhaes

Kaleb took third place on Vault, performing a front handspring and sticking the dismount.

Level 7 was the most competitive at this years Judges Cup. Karthik represented Motions Unlimited at this level, and earned numerous top-three places.

Senior gymnast Igor, level 8, said, “this opportunity was great for me as I love to travel and show my new skills abroad. Although there were not many competitors in my category, I feel as though I performed my best and look forward to the season ahead.”

 The Judges Cup competition provided a dress rehearsal for Igor as he continues to hone new routines for the upcoming season.

“I am proud of all three gymnasts, as preparations for the Judges Cup included practicing nearly 20 hours per week, being disciplined in and out of the gym and staying healthy” Coach Doran Zimmerman remarked. “We have an exciting competition season ahead and I look forward to watching these boys make improvements, increase strength and take advantage of more travel opportunities. The future is bright for the Motions Unlimited Boys gymnastics team.”