Gym­nast qual­i­fies for At­lantic Cham­pi­onships

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY ANDREW ROBIN­SON

Hay­ley Cros­bie of Bay Roberts is one of six gym­nasts from the prov­ince to qual­ify for the 2011 At­lantic Cham­pi­onships, be­ing held April 29 to May 1 in Monc­ton, N.B.

Cros­bie claimed the over­all gold at the win­ter pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships March 2526 in St. John’s in the Level 1 tyro divi­sion by win­ning gold medals for floor rou­tine, vault, and a bronze in the un­even bars. Her Mount Pearl-based Campia Gym­nas­tics also claimed the team gold. There were 14 young gym­nasts com­pet­ing in the Level 1 Tyro divi­sion.

The over­all gold was a re­peat per­for­mance for Cros­bie, who earned the same hon­ours at her pre­vi­ous two meets this year.

Cros­bie has been in gym­nas­tics for two years, and loves to com­pete.

“It’s re­ally fun,” she said. “ The coaches are re­ally nice too.”

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of her dad, Chris, a for­ward with the Con­cep­tion Bay North East­link Cee­Bee Stars ( her home­room teacher is his team­mate Keith De­laney), Hay­ley gave hockey a try, but has since found her niche with gym­nas­tics. Her mother, Danita Cros­bie, thinks she in­her­ited her dad’s com­pet­i­tive streak.

“ She’s al­ways been re­ally ath­letic and re­ally into sports,” said her mother.

Train­ing in Mount Pearl is not easy for the fam­ily. While most other mem­bers of the Campia club train 16 hours a week, Hay­ley is only able to man­age eight hours be­cause of the travel in­volved with get­ting to-and-from St. John’s for four-hour prac­tices.

“ We try to do three (days), but that doesn’t hap­pen a lot,” said Danita. Hay­ley is able to prac­tice in her spare time on a prac­tice bal­ance beam setup at home.

Gym­nas­tics re­quires a great deal of strength con­sid­er­ing the feats gym­nasts must com­plete. In the un­even bars, Hay­ley has to be able to jump to one bar, twirl her body on it and then swing and jump be­tween the two bars. The vault in­volves run­ning to­wards a spring­board that al­lows a gym­nast to spring off the vault with their hands and even­tu­ally land on their feet.

Hay­ley’s per­sonal favourite is the floor rou­tine, which in­volves com­plet­ing a va­ri­ety of jumps and tum­bles in a rhyth­mic fash­ion. She is es­pe­cially fond of the dance as­pect of com­pet­ing in the floor event. Her work here per­haps ben­e­fits from three years of dance train­ing.

The long-and-nar­row bal­ance beam rep­re­sents her great­est chal­lenge in gym­nas­tics, as staying on the beam with­out fall­ing can be tricky.

“My bal­ance isn’t re­ally that good on it,” Hay­ley said, us­ing her hands to give a vis­ual rep­re­sen­ta­tion of its 10-cen­time­tre width. “On my dis­mount I have to jump and do a back-tuck, and I was afraid my first time I was go­ing to jump too high and hit my head. But I did it af­ter, and it wasn’t that scary.”

Hay­ley had a hard time with the bal­ance beam at the win­ter pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships, fall­ing twice in competition. How­ever, she did not let it bother her.

“A lot of other kids are cry­ing, and they’re up­set, and (Hay­ley) is high-fiv­ing her other team­mates be­cause they did well and mov­ing on to the next thing,” said Danita.

Hay­ley’s stays calm by putting things in per­spec­tive.

“If I fall on some­thing, I just say I’m not go­ing to let that ruin my day. I just want to have fun.”

Michelle Soucy coaches Hay­ley for Campia Gym­nas­tics.

“ She’s a re­ally strong com­peti­tor,” said • Age — 11 • Fam­ily — par­ents Chris and Danita, sis­ter Amy, and brother Ni­cholas • Ed­u­ca­tion — Grade 6, Amal­ga­mated Academy • Favourite non-gym­nas­tics sport — vol­ley­ball • Favourite school sub­ject — phys­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion • Favourite food — fruits • Favourite song — “Fire­works” by Katy Perry • Favourite place to visit — Florida • Favourite TV show — Sweet Life on Deck • Life am­bi­tion — gold medal gym­nast Soucy. “ She’s able to fo­cus dur­ing stress­ful com­pe­ti­tions. She’s ex­tremely tal­ented.”

At this stage of Hay­ley’s de­vel­op­ment, the coach said that strength-build­ing and ex­e­cut­ing the ba­sics are the key ar­eas of fo­cus.

“Gym­nas­tics re­quires strength from head to toe,” Soucy ex­plained.

Along with hav­ing the nec­es­sary skills to com­pete, gym­nas­tics re­quires a lot of men­tal dis­ci­pline. To stay men­tally tough, Hay­ley said con­fi­dence plays a big part.

Hay­ley hopes to be able to at­tend prac­tices more of­ten in the weeks lead­ing up to her trip to New Brunswick.

“She’s go­ing to be fight­ing to stay longer,” laughed her mom. “And her coach is fight­ing for her to stay longer. It’s hard though, be­cause she’s in Grade 6, so she has lots of tests now, and she’s tired in the morn­ing.”

Hay­ley’s coach ap­plauds the ef­fort made by Hay­ley’s fam­ily to help her train.

“It’s a lot of time af­ter a full day of school to drive in, train for four hours, and then drive home. It’s ded­i­ca­tion on her part and her par­ents.”

Aside from her gym­nas­tics and school re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, Hay­ley takes piano lessons.

The ex­pe­ri­ence of At­lantics will be a unique one for Hay­ley, and not only be­cause it’s her first time com­pet­ing out­side of New­found­land and Labrador. Mem­bers of the pro­vin­cial squad have to travel, sleep, and eat as a team. Her fam­ily, who will be trav­el­ling to cheer Hay­ley on, have to stay in a sep­a­rate ho­tel.

“ We’re as proud as we pos­si­bly could be,” said Danita.

Hay­ley Cros­bie won four gold and a bronze at the win­ter pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onships in gym­nas­tics last month, and will now travel with the pro­vin­cial team to the At­lantic Cham­pi­onships in Monc­ton, N.B.

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