It’s the same competition, but in an entirely different venue.
At last year’s Del-Tech Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships at the Northern Sport Centre, 11-year-old gymnast Brooke Unger had the support of fellow members of the Prince George Gymnastics Club, her coaches, family and friends. She was in familiar territory, competing right in her own backyard in Prince George.
When she competes this weekend at the 2009 Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Winnipeg, she won’t have as many supporters. Her coach, Jennifer Watt, will be there. Her mother Deanna and four-year-old sister Macyn will be spectators.
Only a few other supporters from Prince George, but that suits Unger just fine. She said she was “quite nervous” at the 2008 Westerns.
“It’s not as bad when there’s people you don’t know, but when my whole family comes and watches I don’t like it,” she said.
Unger, a Grade 5 student at Austin Road Elementary, is entering the Canadian Pre-Novice Aspire division. She’ll be scored in her four routines (bars, beam, vault and floor) in addition to her overall score.
“Last year, at the beginning of the year she wasn’t even competing a full bar routine,” Watt said. “By Westerns she was doing a full bar routine, but with a lot of execution errors, and so her bars (routine) has come a long way.”
In her last meet, the BC Gymnastics Championships in Langley from April 17 to 19, Unger placed fifth in vault, ninth in bars, fifth in beam, fifth in floor and eighth all around in her division.
Watt and Unger were scheduled to fly from Prince George to Vancouver on Wednesday morning. Unger had planned to train with the B.C. team in Coquitlam on Wednesday afternoon, and travel from Vancouver to Winnipeg on Thursday. She hoped to train more in Winnipeg on Thursday afternoon, in preparation for the competition. She’s scheduled to begin competing at 8 a.m. on Saturday.
“I’m just kind of excited to compete again in a very big meet,” said Unger, who is visiting Winnipeg for the first time.
Watt said Unger will move up a division next year, to either the Level 5 or national novice class. As for her competition this weekend, Watt said on Tuesday she wasn’t sure how many gymnasts would enter Unger’s division.
“Since we don’t know how many there are it’s hard to (say) specifically where she wants to place,” she said. “I just want her to hit four routines which she’s been doing all year. She’s had very minor errors all year.”