Erin Rus­sell is pro­vin­cial novice cham­pion

Clarenville ath­lete mak­ing her mark on com­pet­i­tive cir­cuit

The Packet (Clarenville) - - Sports - BY MARK SQUIBB

Erin Rus­sell’s gym­nas­tics jour­ney be­gan by do­ing flips and tum­bles with her friends just for fun.

Then some­one else no­ticed her po­ten­tial and the 13-yearold be­gan to progress as a se­ri­ous ath­lete.

That some­one was Leanna Seguin, who had coached gym­nasts in the past. She first saw Erin and her friends do­ing those rolls and tum­bles at Ve­loc­ity’s Fri­day night dropin pro­gram, the in­ner coach stepped in to help out.

“They had all taught them­selves. And be­ing a coach, I said, ‘Oh, here, let me help you, let’s just fix some things,’” Seguin told The Packet.

Seguin, who taught gym­nas­tics in On­tario, says that she had no in­ten­tion of be­com­ing a gym­nas­tics teacher when she was first hired at Ve­loc­ity three years ago.

She was hired on as an after­school pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor, not as a coach.

But soon the small group was find­ing they never had quite enough time on Fri­day nights to spend learn­ing rou­tines and tech­niques, so Seguin be­gan a four-week ses­sion.

“At the end of the four weeks we could see there was a need for a full gym­nas­tics pro­gram,” said Seguin, and in Jan­uary, 2016, the full-time gym­nas­tics pro­gram be­gan, of­fer­ing dif­fer­ent classes for dif­fer­ent ages and skills.

It was great news for Erin. She says she had been dream­ing about join­ing a gym­nas­tics pro­gram.

“When it fi­nally came I was, like, the first per­son in,” Erin told The Packet.

Erin has since placed in sev­eral com­pe­ti­tions, and re­cently earned the ti­tle of Novice pro­vin­cial cham­pion.

“She is so ded­i­cated, when­ever there is ex­tra time, she’s in the gym,” said Seguin. “This is where she wants to be. She works so hard, and is so at­ten­tive to any­thing I ask of her.

“She came in . . . with some re­ally nice skills on floor, and then hav­ing all the other equip­ment she’s caught up on ev­ery­thing so quickly.”

Erin has even taken on the role as a coach-in-train­ing, and has been help­ing coach some of the younger stu­dents.

“She in­spires the other kids. She in­spires them to work harder. For the lit­tle ones, I have her do demon­stra­tions, and they’re all like, ‘Oh, that’s awe­some!’. They want to be like Erin,” said Seguin.

“The kids love be­ing around her and they love when she comes into the gym to coach them.”

Erin says that she has the sup­port of a great team.

And a great coach.

“She [Leanne] is just so sup­port­ive and help­ful in the gym; she knows me and all my team­mates so well and she knows how hard we need to be pushed.

“She’s such a great, great coach and such a great per­son.”

Gy­manstics pro­gram grow­ing

From its al­most ac­ci­den­tal be­gin­nings in 2015, they Ve­loc­ity gym­nas­tics pro­gram has con­tin­ued to grow.

In the sum­mer of 2017, the

MARK SQUIBB/ THE PACKET

Erin Rus­sell.

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