Gold rush for ‘Motions’ gymnasts at Gasparilla 2018

With the largest Motions Unlimited team this competitive season, the 30th anniversary Gasparilla Classic Gymnastics Invitational meet attracted a record number of participants of nearly 5,000 gymnasts from across the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, and South and Central America last month.

Motions Unlimited Head Coach Kelley Paz, along with Alison Laidler, Doran Zimmerman and Kenzie Brown expertly led the gymnasts on their quest for the gold at the Tropicana Field stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida in late February.

For their first overseas competitive meet, the level 2 girls’ team of Sarah Godwin, Emily Ching, Azania Osbourne, Annabelle Olenyik and Siena Clemens-Orr sparkled on the award stage with their giant golden first-place team trophy. Emily glowed with a 2nd place silver medal on her floor routine along with the rest of her team members proudly showcasing their glittering medals.

Glistening with another golden first-place team trophy was the level 3 group of Tianna Ebanks, Alex Owen, Sienna Santiago, Naomi Tibbetts, Natalie Bodden and Bethany Hawkins. Racking up the medal count was Natalie Bodden with 2nd place silver medal on floor and Bethany Hawkins with two 1st place gold medals on beam and floor, a bronze on bar plus a 2nd place all-around trophy.

For the level 4 girls, the dynamic duo of Maddalena Polloni and Sophia Simpson both earned top 10 finishes, with Maddalena powering in with a bronze on vault.

In the Xcel competitive sessions, Xcel Silver team of Ava Hickey, Sofia Hanson, and Flynne Lunt were brilliant with a bronze third-place team trophy from their early morning session.

Next up, the Xcel Gold team of Meaghan Fowler, Sarah Bush, Morgan Crowley, Mia Van Develde, Emmi Daykin, Ciara Bradley and Gabriella Royston joined the ranks of the large team competitors. Morgan Crowley dazzled with a 1st place gold medal on vault and first-place all-around trophy in her SR C age group. Right beside Morgan on the stage was Meaghan Fowler shining with a second-place all-around trophy along with beaming bronze medals on vault, beam and floor. Emmi Daykin impressed with a one-two punch of 1st place gold on beam and 2nd place silver on floor among the SR A gymnasts.

With an injury after her first event, Sarah Bush vaulted a top ten score before having to sit put on the sidelines for the rest of her events.  Despite this setback, the Xcel Gold team was still able to triumph with a fifth-place team trophy in the large team category ahead of GTFL Athletics and Bayside FL.

Closing out the girls’ team competition was Xcel Platinum gymnast Jaiden Gilbert who stepped up to the stage to claim a 2nd place silver medal on uneven bars and a top ten overall finish.

The boys’ team also struck gold in medals for the USAG junior Olympic levels competition. Igor Magalhaes triumphed with two 1st place gold medals on vault and parallel bars finishing with a 3rd place all-around trophy in level 8. Karthik (Sebastian) Adapa, competing level 7, lassoed a 1st place gold medal on the pommel horse rounding out his session with a 2nd place all-around trophy.  Next, Kaleb Woolaver competing level 6 routines and Alex Hare with level 4 routines topped up the medals haul with Alex earning a 2nd place silver medal on vault and a top ten all-around finish.

Coming up next for the Motions Unlimited competitive gymnasts will be the Florida Crown Championships in Boca Raton, Florida this April and the Summer Extravaganza in May at the Motions facility on Sparky’s Drive.

Sami Peene and Igor Magalhaes will be competing at the Bermuda International Gymnastics Challenge, 16-18 March in preparation for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Australia in April and the Junior Pan American Championships in Argentina in June.

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