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Monday, Nov. 12, 2018
Showcase Fun Meet kicks off interclub schedule at the GymZone
by Randy Pascal

A weekend of gymnastics festivities would keep things hopping at the GymZone in recent days, as provincial level athletes joined the interclub youngsters (Sunday) and the high school contingent (Monday), all showcasing their skills to the large and appreciative crowd on hand.

For the interclub grouping, the “Showcase Fun Meet” (formerly Raise the Bar) provides something of an “unofficial” start to their schedules of meets, with the locals attending events in both Angus and North Bay in the weeks to come.

Based on the constant clinging of medals that could be heard throughout the New Sudbury facility, safe to say the Sudbury crew is ready to take their show on the road, including ten year old Dylan Watts Laframboise, who is drawing upon some early years of dance training to supplement her transition to her current passion.

“I wanted to do something more than dancing, I wanted flips and all that, so my mom suggested gymnastics,” said Watts Laframboise. “In ballet, you really have to point your toes, and in gymnastics, you really have to point your toes too.”

“And at the beginning of my floor routine, there’s a little bit of ballet moves in it.” Preparing herself for the competitions that lay ahead, the talkative young gymnast has tapped into a couple of techniques that would appear to increase her chances at success.

“Some coaches will say to vision yourself doing the routine perfectly, or to watch someone else doing it and pretend you’re the person doing it,” she said. “It works for me. And while I am doing the skill, I will say what I have to do in my head, and that helps.”

Teammate Estelle Larouche will celebrate her tenth birthday later this month, though she sounded at least as excited about her upcoming meets and the opportunity to demonstrate some natural ability that she hopes will help separate her from the pack.

“My specialty is my flexibility,” she said. “My feet can go over my head. It really helps me on the floor, because you do back walkovers and back handsprings, and for that, you need flexibility.”

Though she would come up just short of her goal of grabbing gold on the bars, the offset for Larouche on Sunday was a better than expected performance on the vault. “Normally, my vaults are really bad, but I actually got bronze on it today,” she said.

“I ran and I bumped. As soon as you put your hands on the vault, you can’t just fall over, you have to bump up.” Neither Watts Laframboise or Larouche, however, might have been quite as happy to simply be out competing as was 12 year level 6 gymnast Chloe Pitura, back this year after missing all of the 2015-2016 season with a foot injury.

“It feels different, because I last competed two years ago,” Pitura acknowledged. “The bars came back quickly because I don’t really use my feet, it’s mostly my hands. Vault took the longest to come back because of the springboard – it pounds on my feet.”

A powerful tumbler prior to her injury, Pitura has started to see the return to form of this particular component to her floor routine, though she may need to tap into the background of Watts Laframboise in order to complete the look she is attempting to achieve.

“The music for my routine is sharp and fast,” Pitura explained. “Some of the coaches tell me I have to be “sassy” with my dances. Sometimes I don’t do that, I have to practice that, with my face and my hands.”

And it’s not as though she won’t have role models training in her midst. “Brooklyn Basso has a lot of sass,” noted Pitura with a smile. “She’s really upbeat, hyper and cute.”

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