Cassidy Connelly, 16, will represent the province at the upcoming Eastern Canadian championships
(PETERBOROUGH) Amidst the sounds of training athletes at the Kawartha Gymnastics Club, Cassidy Connelly took a few moments to reflect on the outstanding season that is quickly coming to a close.
“It’s been one of my better ones,” remarked Connelly. “I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do.
The 16 year old gymnast has much to look back on.
After being selected to the Ontario Tour Select team that traveled to Cancun, Mexico in January, Connelly has capped off her season with her highest accolade yet – qualification for the Eastern Canadian Championships in Charny, Quebec as a member of Team Ontario.
Connelly was notified shortly after her third provincial qualifier in early April that she would be representing Ontario at the championships which takes place May 11-14, but had kept her focus on the provincial championships which wrapped up last weekend.
Eligibility for the Eastern Canadian championship was based on a new system implemented by Gymnastics Ontario where the top two results out of three provincial qualifier meets were averaged out to a final ranking score. This was done for every athlete participating in qualification meets across the province narrowing the field to the top 32 athletes in each division to participate in the Ontario Provincial Championships.
The top four from each division were then selected to compete for Team Ontario at the Eastern Canadian Championships.
It was a system that didn’t sit well with many competitors, including Connelly, as team selection usually waits until after provincial championships. The selection process was set up to select the best consistent performers, not necessarily the best finishers.
“I was a little upset at first,” commented Connelly. “Things like that never usually go my way.”
Connelly was ranked sixth heading into her third qualifier and knew that she needed to perform well if she had any chance of qualifying for the provincial team.
“I knew I had to have a good qual going in and I didn’t think it looked that good, (but) I was feeling a little better about it after the meet,” stated Connelly. “I was still pretty surprised when I found out.”
In reality, it was a system that worked in the favour of the entire Kawartha Gymnastics provincial level team as every member of the squad qualified for the Ontario Championships and for good reason. The club claimed nine top five finishes. Maxine Brown, Katie Cymbaluk and Clair Woodgate all finished in fifth place all around in each of their categories with Cymbaluk claiming a provincial gold medal on the vault.
It was the first time in recent memory that the entire team had all qualified for the championship meet.
Now with provincials out of the way, Connelly is fine tuning her routines for the biggest competition in the young woman’s long gymnastics career. Training will continue with her KGC coach as well as some training camps with her new provincial teammates and coaches until their departure on May 10.