The women’s gymnastics team for Team NT is now set and when they head to Red Deer next year, they will be the first female gymnasts from the territory to compete at the Canada Winter Games in close to 20 years.

Jade Ko, left Maggie Carson, Emma Leathem, Lindsey Woodford will travel to Red Deer as the Team NT gymnastics team at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. photo courtesy of John Tram

“We had 5 girls make the team, all of them that tried out made the team so that was good,” said John Tram, the team’s head coach. “This will be the first time the NWT sends a team of female gymnasts to the Canada Games so that’s exciting for the girls.”

Tram said all five girls that attended the tryouts were able to reach the bench score, meaning the territory will have its first full female gymnastics team at the games.

“The level for Canada Games is a pretty high level and we just never had gymnasts reach that level yet for the females. We had one athlete go about 20 years ago for females, but ever since then we haven’t had any athletes at this level,” said Tram.

Tram said while everyone that tried out made the team, it was still important for the trials to happen. In order to compete at the Canada Games, athletes must set a minimum score before they can attend the games

“We just wanted to ensure that our athletes would be going there and getting the scores that were relatively comparable … and not getting scores that are not at the same level as other athletes at the Canada Games,” said Tram. “The athletes had to get a minimum start value score of 32 and all of them got over that so that was good to see.”

That score of 32 is calculated out of the difficulty of an athlete’s routine and the level at which they execute that routine, Tram said.

“So the 32 is made up from all the skills and composition things that they have to include in their routine and the difficulty, basically the more difficulty they have in their routine, the higher their start value score would be,” said Tram. “If they’re doing skills that aren’t hard enough or they aren’t connecting (or) executing them properly, their start value score is going to be low and they wouldn’t have made the team.”

Tram said making the mark was a testament to the hard work each of the girls has put in to be at the Canada Games level of competition.

“They’ve been working pretty hard and sticking with gymnastics for a while so they’re progressing and they’re at a level now that they’re able to compete at the Canada Games,” said Tram

The girls will now continue to train until they head to Red Deer in February.

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