Terrace gymnasts ready to raise the bar

You could say that gymnastics is a sport for all seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter...

YOU could say that gymnastics is a sport for all seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter, the Terrace Peaks Gymnastics Club is plugging away at their club in Thornhill, with only a three week break in the summer, learning new routines and skills in order to shine during the competition season.

That competition season is slowly approaching, with a mock meet planned for Terrace in December, not only giving the team a chance to practice, but giving the parents and board members who recently completed a judging course a chance to practice as well.

And the club’s home meet, which will see competitors from zone 7 – Smithers, Kitimat, and Terrace – take to the mat is Jan. 11. That competition is both trials for provincials and trials for the Winter Games, to be held in Mission in February.

The club’s Shannon Schuster, who has been training since she was eight, is getting set to try out for the Winter Games, says coach Ambra Marak, and there’s still time for other athletes to choose to try out.

Marak has been the head coach for nearly five years, and many of the girls started training around the same time.

“I’ve definitely seen the girls grow and become good gymnasts, they were just little when I started with them – six and seven years old, now they’re 10, 11,” she said. “I’d like them to stay until Grade 12, because then they can get scholarships.”

In prepping for the season, Marak says the team travelled to a training camp in Smithers put on by a Russian coach who lives in Kelowna – the camp was beneficial to Marak as a coach, she said, because she’s been able to put that coach’s tips to use at the home gym.

One thing she’d like to see happen this year, that would help the girls’ training, is to completely re-do the bar area in the gym, including installing the club’s new trainer bar, with wooden and metal rail.

“I would love to put the new bar up and reconstruct the whole bar area,” she said. “Bar is getting harder and harder every year. That’s the one thing that is changing a lot – YouTube bars from the ‘70s and then look at some from the 2000’s and you’ll see a huge, huge difference.”

But in order to do so the club needs volunteers, which are hard to come by.

“We’re a non-profit,” she said. “So we don’t have a contractor that can just come in and work the whole weekend and set up the bars.”

On the recreational side, the gym is busier than it’s ever been, she said.

“We’ve got wait lists, I’ve never seen it this busy,” she said. “I think it’s a combination of us being in the community, having new staff members, and the town is just booming.”

This month, the club is participating in Sports Day in Canada Nov. 30 – all athletes at the club get to wear their favourite sports jerseys that week.


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