Aerials moving in right direction after strong showing at Western Canadian gymnastics event

Dave Leaderhouse
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Several members of the Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Clun travelled to Saskatoon on the weekend to compete at the Western Canadian artistic gymnastics championship. Laura Placsko, Kelsey Hurl. Hayden Gratias and Serra Gillis were all members of Team Saskatchewan while Samantha Caisse was an invited athlete and represented the Aerials. In total, the group brought home five medals and will use the experience to prepare for the provincial championships scheduled for Moose Jaw in two weeks time. Shown in the photo are, from left, Placsko, Caisse, Gillis and Gratias. Missing is Hurl.

The Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club is ready to move to the next level.

Having shown steady improvement in the last four years the Aerials made even bigger strides this weekend when local competitors captured a handful of medals at the Western Canadian artistic gymnastic championships held in Saskatoon.

“This year we were very excited to win a medal, but we have to go from being excited to win a medal to now having it be an expectation of performance,” says Aerials’ head coach Mike Amouri. “Prince Albert has gone from not even being on the Western Canadian or even the national scene to where we are now. It’s been a huge leap in three or four years.”

When Hayden Gratias won a bronze medal in the floor exercises at last year’s event it marked the first time that a Prince Albert gymnast had ever medalled at the Western Canadian championship.

This year Gratias did even better as she placed second in the floor exercises and third on the vault in the P5 Open category. Laura Placsko was also a double-medal winner capturing the bronze on both the balance beam and floor exercises for the P4 Novice division. Placsko also had a fifth-place result on the vault to complete a very successful showing.

Serra Gillis claimed the final medal winning the bronze in the P5 Tyro floor exercises, but Gillis was sixth in the all-around against competitors from all four western provinces in addition to the Yukon and Northwest Territories.

“We were very impressed with the Prince Albert girls’ performances,” noted Amouri, who was the head of delegation for Team Saskatchewan, which claimed a number of titles in the various divisions. “There were ups and downs, but in the end every year they are performing (routines) with more difficulty and quality.”

Also competing at the Western Canadian event were Kelsey Hurl and Samantha Caisse. Hurl was with Team Saskatchewan in the P5 Open category and had a top-six result on the balance beam while Caisse was an invited athlete who represented the Aerials and in the P4 Tyro division she finished fourth on the vault and seventh on the beam.

Caisse will use the experience she gained at the Western Canadian event when she attends the Summit Invitational meet in Canmore, Alta., this weekend. Caisse will move up to the P3 Tyro class for that competition and the trip to Alberta will be a prelude to the provincial championships in Moose Jaw, which will see a large group of Prince Albert competitors in attendance.

Then at the end of the month, Ariel Crawford, along with Amouri, will head to Ottawa for the national gymnastics championships to complete the busy schedule.

But, the action doesn’t slow down for long as the Aerials will be hosting summer camps at the High Noon Optimist Centre with registrations received before June 1 receiving significant discounts.

More information on the summer camps, or any of the programs being offered by the Aerials, can be obtained by calling either Karen or Kara at 306-922-4812.


Organizations: Prince Albert, Caisse, Team Saskatchewan P4 Novice division P4 Tyro division Summit Invitational High Noon Optimist Centre

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Yukon, Northwest Territories Canmore Alberta Moose Jaw Ottawa

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