A Langford 11 year old is heading to the BC Winter Games for the first time after ranking first overall in Vancouver Island-Central Coast zone artistic gymnastics trials.
The Games, being held in Vernon from Feb. 24 to 27, will mark the most significant competition yet in Metis gymnast Ava-Marie Jaeger’s four years of competitive gymnastics, and she couldn’t be happier to have made the cut.
“I’m really happy and excited,” she told Black Press Media. “So many things were going through my mind.”
Jaeger trains more than 20 hours a week, at home and at Saanich’s Inspire Sports under coach Chantelle Altares. Despite the effort she puts into the sport and how good she felt about her performances leading up to tryouts, Jaeger said she was happily surprised to do so well in the Games trials.
She did far more than simply make the cut, however, she finished first all-around in the Zone 6 competition with a total score of 35.9. Along the way she placed first on the uneven bars with a score of 9.4, second on balance beam (8.55), fourth in floor exercise (8.9) and fifth on the vault (9.05).
“We are extremely proud of her, she works so hard and she is super dedicated and committed to being successful in her sport,” said Ava-Marie’s mother, Sheila Jaeger. “She has had very successful competition seasons over the years. She is a pretty amazing kid.”
Sheila is especially proud of her daughter’s efforts to build mental resiliency as much as physical. Leading up to the trials, Ava-Marie struggled with a lack of confidence while performing a double-back handspring on the beam, her mother said, but kept practising the move over and over to build her confidence.
“I am most proud of her grit and determination, and I think a lot of people who know her feel the same way.”
Leading up to Jaeger’s trip to Vernon, she plans to keep up her practice pace while her mother works to ensure everyone stays healthy to avoid any last-minute changes of plan.