MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — A young Canadian women’s gymnastics team struggled at times on Saturday at the senior Pan American Championships but still managed to qualify a full squad for the 2015 Pan Am Games.
With most of Canada’s top women gymnasts taking a break before the world championships in the fall, including Commonwealth Games star Ellie Black of Halifax, the six-member team pulled together to clinch the Pan Am berth with a fifth place finish.
The United States finished first followed by Brazil and Mexico.
In the all around event Mykayla Skinner of the U.S. won gold with Jessica Lopez of Venezuela in second and Maggie Nichols of the U.S. in third.
Victoria-Kayen Woo of La Prairie, Que., was the top Canadian in 15th place.
Next best was Aleeza Yu of Stoufville, Ont., (18th) followed by Kirsten Petermen of Cambridge, Ont., (44th).
Maegan Chant of Waterdown, Ont., the only Canadian gymnast at the championships with world championship experience, had the best individual result with a 6th place on vault, earning her a spot in Sunday’s final.
“I think my vaulting has improved a lot over the last year,” said Chant, who competed last month at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
“My form, height, execution have all gotten better.”
Madison Copiak of Calgary delivered the next best individual result with an 11th place on beam and Jordyn Pedersen of Mississauga, Ont., and Yu both placed 12th on floor to help the team get the top eight finish needed to clinch the Pan Am berth.
Yu, who missed the Commonwealth Games with an injured foot, said she was not 100 percent recovered but glad to get back into competition.
“Things didn’t go quite as planned but looking on the bright side I’m coming back from an injury and I’m glad to be here and to do all four events,” said Yu, who has her sights set on earning a spot at the world championships in Nanning China in October.
The Pan Am Championships continues on Sunday and Monday with event finals for men and women.