The Argyle Pipers vaulted to the top of the standings at the B.C. high school gymnastics championships held last week in Victoria, winning the boys, girls and overall team titles.
The Pipers were pushed to glory by powerful performances from their athletes as well as their strong attendance numbers – there were 55 members on the team, 35 of which qualified for the provincial championships.
“The kids just came together as a team and supported each other,” said Argyle coach Cath Dimmock. “Grade 8 through 12, boys and girls – they just help each other out. There’s only four coaches – [the gymnasts] just all bonded and got along, and we had some talent.”
The Pipers finished just ahead of their longtime rivals from Windsor Secondary in the overall team category, with the North Vancouver schools placing first and second at the competition. Windsor is headed by coach George Carroll, and the two programs are always pushing each other, said Dimmock, adding with a laugh that she was very pleased to win this round of the rivalry.
“I’ve known George since I was, like, 11,” said Dimmock. “He’s like a dad to me, and we are just constantly competing against each other.”
Argyle and Windsor also placed first and second in the girls team competition, while Argyle, Sutherland and Windsor completed a podium sweep in the boys team competition.
The Pipers were led by a pair of high-level talents in Grade 12 gymnast Sabrina Tsumura and Grade 8 gymnast Sarah Saeni-Whittred. At the high school championships athletes are divided into five levels, with novices starting at Level 1 and elite talents competing in Level 5. Tsumura, who has competed on the Argyle team for the past five years, won gold in Level 4, while newcomer Saeni-Whittred earned bronze in Level 5.
The elite talents help score points at provincials, but to succeed you need multiple athletes competing in every level, said Dimmock. She’s proud of the way the team is built at Argyle, where gymnastics is promoted as an inclusive sport for the entire student body.
“It’s just positive, making sure that they know that my team is for fun and anyone can join,” she said about how she puts together such a large and diverse squad. “Big, small, athletic, not, shy, introverted, extroverted, whatever – you are welcome there. There are no tryouts for my team – come one, come all. … It’s just been such a beautiful coming together, this team. Just all the ages, adoring each other. I love it.”
Here are the North Shore athletes that hit the podium at provincials:
Gold: Sabrina Tsumura, Level 4 girls, Argyle; Gavin Moroney, Level 3 boys, Windsor; William Walker, Level 1 boys, Argyle.
Silver: Jose Aleman, Level 3 boys, Sutherland; Kaden Wigard, Level 2 boys, Argyle; Ian Fabella, Level 1 boys, Argyle.
Bronze: Sarah Saeni-Whittred, Level 5 girls, Argyle; Bailee Nadin, Level 3 girls, Argyle; Luke Nash, Level 3 boys, Argyle; Matthew Mitchell, Level 2 boys, Argyle; Michael Klaassen, Level 1 boys, Windsor. Kristen Kampert, Level 1 junior girls, Windsor.