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Kanata GymnoSphere competitive team shines at Ontario Championships
Updated On: May 8, 2017



--By Kanata GymnoSphere

Seven athletes from Kanata GymnoSphere showed that their young club’s competitive program is on the rise by making it through the challenging qualifying events to compete at the Apr. 6-9 Ontario Women’s Artistic Gymnastics, and they most definitely left their mark, bringing home a handful of provincial medals to boot.

“Our hard work pays off,” smiles GymnoSphere coach Fiodor Martea. “All of our kids did their best, and we are so proud of them. It’s a wonderful achievement.”

Having so many gymnasts reach provincials in just the second season of the club’s existence was a great achievement, and is a product of the atmosphere at GymnoSphere, Martea notes.

“Our coaches work as a collective. We can communicate and collaborate and have a very positive attitude,” adds the Romania-educated past member of the Republic of Moldova’s national team. “That means a lot. When you have a very positive environment, it allows you to build. The athletes are experiencing these positive waves, and they’re gaining that confidence and experience with positive feedback from the coaches.

“Everybody is working so hard.”

Amongst the medallists was Angelina Polegato, who overcame her initial nerves to start with a bang on floor and collect her first of two silver medals – the second coming on uneven bars, which has always been her favourite event.

Polegato, who won all-around bronze in the Level 6, Age 9 category, travels over an hour each way from the Morrisburg area to train at GymnoSphere.

“It’s fun being here. I really like the atmosphere,” signals Grace Kelly, who won bronze medals on vault and bars in the Level 6, Age 13 competition. “We’re really close friends. We all know each other, the parents all know each other – there’s a bond between everyone.

“And I love the coaches. They’re really nice. They don’t seem so much as a coach as much as a family friend.”

GymnoSphere competitive program manager Lauren Mooney notes that several of the gymnasts who didn’t qualify for provincials still travelled to Toronto to cheer on their teammates, which speaks volumes about the strong community already established at the club.

For athletes who had to travel into the city core for years, a high-quality gymnastics facility in the west end was a welcome addition. That was the case for Monica Borrello and Freya Cope, who have been at GymnoSphere since its 2015 opening.

“She’s my goofy buddy. We always fool around together,” Borrello giggles. “Sometimes we get yelled at because we talk too much. Me and Freya always talk a lot. But we also have to serious at some times.”

Both in the same Level 6, Age 10 category, the gabby girls got to compete side-by-side on the same rotation at provincials.

“That felt good because she’s my best friend,” underlines Cope, whose next goals in gymnastics are to progress to higher levels, like teammates Mackenzie Capretta and Fiona Leclair-Robertson – both Level 10 competitors.

“I like watching them,” she explains. “I see the older girls doing it and it makes me want to do it.”

Capretta, who made Team Ontario for the Eastern Canadian Championships despite being one of the younger athletes in the Age 12-15 category, enjoys acting as a role model.

“It’s really great,” states the Grade 8 St. Francis-Xavier student. “It’s a bit different having others look up to me, but I like it. (The younger gymnasts) are really fun too.”

Capretta is one of a countless number of siblings at GymnoSphere, though Madison Capretta says the sisterhood extends beyond those related by blood.

“We cheer each other on and help each other as a team,” highlights Capretta, who was happy to have a big Kanata crew there to support her at provincials. “It was kind of unnerving having a lot of people compete against you, and the gym was so big, but it wasn’t that scary with them there.”

Each of the provincials competitors train at least 20 hours per week at the gym.

“It’s a very technical sport and it takes many, many years of preparation,” underlines Mooney, outlining a formula that includes injury prevention and physical readiness before attempting new skills, thus helping gymnasts build confidence in their abilities and mental toughness.

“When they have that, I know I’m ready to start them on a certain skill or progress them onto the next step,” continues Mooney, inspired by the opportunity to help her young athletes grow through sport. “After a year or even six months in our program, parents tend to say, ‘You know, my kid’s behaving better at home, they’re doing better at school, or they’re going to sleep better at night.’”

“All around, it does so much for them as a person.”

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