Canadian Nationals 2014: A Recap

10:37 PM Arabian Punch Front 5 Comments

Kirsten Peterman
Photo Credit: Grace Chiu

The following article was written by Jared Goad and reflect his personal opinions, not those of Arabian Punch Front.

Oh Canada!

The 2014 Canadian National Gymnastics Championships ran from May 26th – 31st in the nation's capital of Ottawa. Canada hosts their nationals similar to Australia with all disciplines competing at one event: women and men’s artistic, trampoline and tumbling and rhythmic gymnastics all competing in the same venue.  Hundreds of young gymnasts from around the country are given the opportunity to compete in the same competition as their favorite Olympians!

Senior women’s was the highlight event of the week with Olympians Ellie Black and Victoria Moors dueling it out for top spot and newcomers Aleeza Yu and Isabela Onysko chasing them not far behind making it a great battle for the top. The seniors had three long days of competition in a format similar to World Championships with qualification, AA finals, and event finals.

Black lead the day with a strong performance on all four events and a 56.575 AA. She only did a double twist first line on floor instead of her double layout to rest her foot but added a 2.5 twist through to a double pike. Beam was a little shaky but no falls. Vault and bars were on point with her new piked Hindorff (Shang).  Aleeza Yu was not far behind in second with a 56.35. This girl has great execution everywhere and a solid DTY on vault, and a 5.9 SV on beam. She comes from the same gym as Kristina Vaculik so you would not expect anything less. In third was Isabela Onyshko from Manitoba with a 55.75. A lot of progress from her in the last few years, she is still working out the kinks in her routines. Most importantly, she has a big 6.1 SV on bars with a unique double front half dismount.

Moors finished in fourth (54.85) after three falls, two on beam and one on bars on her new double front dismount. Not sure why she is changing it, maybe because her own teammate (Black) does her own dismount better then her? Stefanie Merkle came finished in fifth (54.725) with very nice floor and beam routines. Surprise of qualifying was Kirsten Peterman (non-national team member) finishing sixth! Jordyn Pedersen and Victoria Kayen-Woo finished seventh and eighth.  Disappointment for qualifying were N. Vaculik, Chant and Tsang each counting at least two falls.

The return of Ella Douglas on vault, beam and floor was nice as well as Heaven Latimer on uneven bars even though her performance was sub-par.

AA Finals
Basically this was the Ellie Black show. She dominated the field scoring a huge 58.025 AA and a 15.0 on beam! She brought back the double layout on floor with the 2.5 to double pike and flew out of bound on that pass. She had a huge 6.5 SV on beam and near perfect handspring front layout half on vault (5.4 SV, 15.05 score) and I saw it with my own eyes, it was that good. She is basically a lock for all teams she wants to be on this year as long as she is healthy. In second place was Isabela Onyshko with a 56.1, another big AA score for Canada. Her top two events were bars and floor scoring 14.35 and 13.975. Seeing her eyes light up with the excitement of her performance tells that she really enjoys this sport. Third was Moors with a 54.975. She still had a fall on her bars dismount and only did double tuck off beam compared to full in as in day one. However, her Moors on floor is looking better and better with time.

Fourth again in the AA was Merkle with a 54.6, fifth was V.Woo 54.2, sixth N. Vaculik with 53.45, finally seventh was Peterman with a 53.3. Chant had a better day as did Tsang. Pedersen had a rough day with a few falls. Aleeza Yu landed very short on vault, falling and immediately grabbing her ankle. Rumor has it she already was dealing with some Achilles issues, but good news is it was not a complete tear.

Event finals
With some of the major players having mistake in day one or deciding to rest injuries, event finals didn’t have very many surprises. Briannah Tsang won vault over Maegan Chant with a DTY and a roundoff-half on layout half. Black won bars, the only event she competed in EF, with a 14.075. Onyshko was second with a mediocre routine for her. Onyshko won beam with a decent 14.35 for her, which was almost a point ahead of second. Moors won floor with a 14.025. Chant and Merkle were very close behind with 14.0.

Looking ahead to Commonwealth, Pan Ams and Worlds there is a solid group of four who will be key players at these meets. From what I’ve heard, they are focusing on having a strong Commonwealth team over Pan Ams.

Commonwealth – Black, Onyskho and Moors are most likely headed here. Yu will be too if her injury isn’t too bad. If Yu is out, Merkle will probably take her spot. With the team very strong on vault, beam and floor, they will need someone who can put up a good bar score. Vaculik or Woo could fill this spot.

Pan Ams – If they are sending a “B-team” here it won't be very hard to fill the spots. Depending on who makes the CWG team, the remaining gymnasts will go here. Chant, Pedersen, Tsang, Douglas and Peterman (if put on national team) all have good chances of making this team. Most of these girls are heading to college in the fall, so I’m not quite sure what move National Team Director Dave Brubaker will make.

Worlds – Black, Moors, Onyshko, Yu and Vaculik (bars score) all have great chances for this.  Chant, Merkle, Tsang, Douglas and others are starting college in the fall so it will be interesting who they use for the sixth member. October is a long ways away with a lot of chances for girls to prove themselves. Canada will have to hit routines to finish where they did in the Olympics. Team finals should be an easy accomplishment but top five will be tough.

NCAA Commitments
Merkle, Woo, Hofland and Casey Carvahlo are all headed to Ohio State, Tsang to Penn State, Douglas to MSU, Chant to Florida, Vaculik and Pedersen to Georgia, and Peterman to Maryland. Not completely sure when everyone starts but that’s where they are headed.

Article by Jared Goad. Follow him on twitter @jaredvgoad.


  1. Great story Jared. Ellie really showed her stuff and there are some pretty solid girls going forward.......only Merkle, Vaculik, Tsang and Hofland are leaving this fall. Good call on Peterman; many feel she is a lock to be put on team. She is a 2016 grad. Woo, Chant, Douglas, Pedersen and Chant are deferring until 2016.

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