Team PEI heads to National Championships
With PEI gymnastics veterans Matthieu D’Amour and Scott Chandler sidelined with injuries, the medal and all-around hopes at the 2012 National Championships in Regina SK rests in the hands of a younger PEI squad – a much younger squad, including 11 year old Samuel Gillis. “This is Samuel’s first National Championships and he is one of the youngest gymnasts on PEI to ever qualify to compete at Nationals” says coach CJ Keliher. Samuel will be among 600 gymnasts at the National Championships, all vying for a high ranking in the all-around category to land a spot on the National Team. The championships will serve as a qualifier for the 2012 Olympics in the Senior category, but for now, 11 year old Gillis has his hopes set high in the Argo category. “It’s my first Nationals, and I’m incredibly so nervous and excited at the same time. I’m just going to go there and do my best and hopefully be Top 10 in my level”.
Joining Gillis will be top PEI gymnasts Sam Mallett and Carson Younker in the National Open category, along with Matt Gallant and Alex Mann in the Level 5 category. Training 18 hours a week, this PEI mens team means business. “It’s been a tough year in our mens’ program” says head coach Jim Rand “we were hoping to have 10 boys heading to Nationals and we’re down to five – but we definitely have 5 of the best and hardest working guys in our club.” Hoping to make finals on several events, along with some “Top 10” performances, Rand is certain the team is well prepared. Having already competed in Belgium and Vegas this competitive season, the team has plenty of experience at the National and International Level.