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Monday, Nov. 12, 2018
GymZone trio challenge themselves at provincials
by Randy Pascal

The 2017 Gymnastics Ontario Women’s Artistic Provincial Championships were all about the experience for a trio of locals, as representatives of the GymZone – Sudbury Laurels enjoyed their first shot at higher levels of competition.

Putting up her best scores of the season, 14 year old Marisol Toupin (Level 8) enjoyed a sixth place finish on the vault, while finishing 14th, all around, on a provincial scale. “I’ve improved on all my events this year,” she noted before heading off to Mississauga last week.

“Last year, when I went to provincials, I was so excited, because it was my first time. This year, I was like I made it to provincials last year, so I know I can do it this year.” Thankfully, the nerves of 2016 were a distant memory come her second time around.

“I didn’t do my best last year,” admitted Toupin. “On beam, I was really nervous and I fell. During the whole competition, I kept thinking about my fall, and then I fell on bars. But my vault and beam went well, and I got bronze on vault.”

The step forward that she would take during this past competitive season bodes well for Toupin, reaching her Level 8 status at a relatively young age. The 2017 all-Ontario competition were also a chance at redemption for 15 year old Brielle Charlebois, coming off a 2015-2016 season that was not was she was looking for.

“It was a bad year last year,” said Charlebois. “I wasn’t training at the level I needed to be. I changed groups into a higher group this year, with older athletes, and they just pushed me to do a lot of stuff. I realized this right at my first qualifier.”

Competing at provincials for the second time in her career, the Level 6 gymnast finished 13th on the vault and 24th, overall, across the entire province. “I’m a lot stronger this year and can get through a full routine, no problem,” Charlebois stated. “In high school, we do a workout class, which really helped me.”

Seventeen year old Brooklyn Lavallee brings with her a different perspective entirely, understanding that there is a somewhat more limited window of competition remaining for the grade 11 athlete.

“After grade 12, I am probably going to retire,” she said. “For my grade 12 year, I am thinking of doing a whole bunch of new skills, and just having more fun with it. If I make it to championships, it’s a plus. I want to complete some of these skills, just to say that I have done them.”

If the 2017 provincials are to be the last of her women’s artistic career, Lavallee will remember them with fondness. The Level 8 competitor put up her best all around score of the season, finishing 25th in the province, include a segment best seventh place finish on beam.

There might lie even more potential ahead in this event for Lavallee, who is hoping to add a back handspring back handspring combination next year, a challenging goal, to say the least. “You don’t really know where you are when you land the first one, so you have to kind of guess where your hands are going,” Lavallee acknowledged.

Though the most recent competition closed off the season for the women’s artistic provincial grouping, Laurels will remain busy in the coming weeks, participating both in tumbling and trampoline meets, as well as interclub events.

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