MISSISSAUGA, Ont.– Canada’s three Olympic medal winning trampolinists and their teammates dominated the first day of competition Sunday at the Pan American Senior Championships, sweeping the top four spots in the women’s prelims and two out of three on the men’s side.
Not surprisingly world and Olympic champion Rosie MacLennan of Toronto led the Canadian women’s charge, topping a field of 25 competitors with a score of 99.100 points.
MacLennan’s stiffest competition came from teammate Samantha Sendel of Aurora, Ont., who came close to upsetting the Olympic champion, but fell just short despite the highest score for her optional routine.
Sendel scored 99.045 points for second place with three-time Olympic medal winner Karen Cockburn of Toronto in third with 98.020.
Samantha Smith of Kelowna, B.C., placed fourth with a score of 95.950.
In the men’s trampoline prelims, Keegan Soehn of Red Deer, Alta., led for most of the competition until eight-time Canadian champion Jason Burnett of Toronto, took the lead and managed to hold on to top spot with a score of 104.780 points.
Logan Dooley of the U.S., the last to compete a field of 30 trampolinists, finished a close second with 104.480 points and Soehn dropped to third at 104.340.
Sebastien St-Germain of Montreal and Kyle Soehn of Red Deer, placed 13th and 23rd respectively.
Burnett, who trailed both Dooley and Soehn after his compulsory routine, came back with the highest score for his optional but was less than thrilled with his performance.
“It wasn’t my strongest performance but luckily I still managed to end up on top which is good for the qualification process for the Pan Am Games coming up next year,” said Burnett.
Canada’s strong performance clinched two spots in both the men’s and women’s trampoline events at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games.
Soehn, runner-up to Burnett at the 2014 Canadian championships, notched the highest compulsory score of the competition, but problems with his optional routine knocked him out of top spot.
“It was a good routine but not as good as it should have been for what I’ve been training,’’ said Soehn, who said he feels he’s been making steady progress as an international threat.
“I’m right where I want to be right now. I’m slowly getting better. It’s picking up. I’m getting more consistent in competitions and that will really pay off when I get to the world championships.”
Soehn also competed in the double mini trampoline prelims, placing third to lead the Canadian men’s team. Arden Oh of Calgary was the top Canadian in the women’s double mini, also placing third.
In the tumbling competition, David Findlay of Hamilton qualified second to lead the Canadian men’s team while Jordan Sugrim of Mississauga, Ont., placed first on the women’s side.
The Pan American Championships continue with the trampoline and tumbling finals on Monday followed by artistic gymnastics later next week.