Emma Spence

If You Like NCAA Gymnastics, You’ll Also Like These Canadian Elites

Gymnastics Canada’s first in person national championship in two years was held from May 27 to 30  in Richmond, British Columbia. Like its American counterpart, this year’s Canadian championships served as an opportunity for gymnasts to further introduce their name to the recruiting pool For fans new to the Canadian gymnastics scene, the event acted as a showcase of collegiate routines past, present and future. With athletes competing from level nine to senior elite, there’s a storyline for everyone to root for.

  1. If you like watching American gymnasts do college and elite at the same time…

Emma Spence (Nebraska ‘25) hasn’t had time off in years—since joining the Canadian National Team in 2017, she competed at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and was named as a 2020 Olympic alternate before joining Nebraska’s gymnastics team in the fall of 2021. Now back home for the summer, she represented Burlington Gymnastics Club at the Canadian championships and finished in fourth in the all-around. Watch for Spence’s consistency in elite, now that she’s competed all four events in every meet during her freshman college season.

2. If you liked Vanessa Zamarippa’s elite comeback…

Denelle Pedrick marked her elite comeback in 2020, relocating to Halifax, Nova Scotia, after graduating from Central Michigan. Now training with Ellie Black at Alta, Pedrick has upgraded all four events from her college compositions and has earned a spot on the Canadian Senior National Team for the first time at age 23. Be sure to watch her national championship-winning vault, the event where she recently won the event final at her first ever national team assignment earlier this year in Stuttgart, Germany. 

BONUS: Alta lays claim to three women over 20 years old competing elite! Pedrick (23) and Ellie Black (27) competed at Canadian championships, and both represented the club at 2022 Elite Canada alongside 2000 Olympian Crystal Gilmore (39). 

3. If you like watching Shenderey Gymnastics’ collegiate trio…

Shenderey Gymnastics Institute based in Newmarket, Ontario, currently has three gymnasts making a name for themselves in the NCAA—Hannah Scharf (Arizona State ‘23), Emma Milne (San Jose ‘23) and Nika Takagi (LIU ‘23). Older fans of Canadian gymnastics will be quick to say that Shenderey has always produced national athletes, and this year is no exception. Three more gymnasts from the club have committed to collegiate teams for the coming season: Isabelle Kowan (Arizona State ‘26), Lenee Dimkin (SCSU ‘26) and Rachel Van Namen (Winona State ‘26). Shenderey had four athletes competing at Canadian championships this weekend across three categories:

  • Lenee Dimkin (level 10, 16+)
  • Makayla Veli lLevel 9, 11-13)
  • Chloe Callo (junior elite)
  • Brooklyn Couto (junior elite)

4.  If you miss Shae Zamardi’s lines on bars and floor…

Wimgym’s Evandra Zlobec (uncommitted ‘24) came into the Canadian championships with the highest difficulty in the junior category at 4.700, upgrading from her two-day combined difficulty of 8.100 at Elite Canada earlier this year. Watch for the junior bars champion’s lines in her opening Maloney to Pak combination, as well as the height on her Maloney half and straddle Jaeger. As a bonus, watch Zlobec again on floor! She is the reigning Elite Canada junior silver medalist, the new Canadian junior floor champion and stacks her routine with difficult turns and Brooklyn Moors-esque eye contact. Zlobec has amazing all-around potential when she turns senior next year, after taking home two national event titles and a second place finish in the all-around.

5.  If you’re on “team difficulty” watching floor…

Nyla Morabito (uncommitted ‘23) from Manjak’s boasts a level 10 floor routine that’s looked college ready since Ontario returned to competing in February 2022. She came into the Canadian championships with the highest scoring (by season average) Team Ontario floor routine, earning a 9.400 in every Level 10 regular season competition this year. Morabito’s routine is stacked with an opening layout one and a half to layout double twist, a double tuck and a front layout to front layout full. And just for good measure—she used this composition at Elite Canada in March and placed 11th in the senior category. Morabito finished the second day of nationals with a second place finish on floor and in the all-around, as well as being crowned the level 10 16+ bars champion.

6. If you like Aleah Finnegan’s beam dismount series…

Sydney Turner (Iowa ‘23) competed a jam packed beam routine, finishing with a twist on her back handspring entry dismount. Earlier this year at DTB Pokal, Turner competed a gainer back handspring to back handspring to layout double twist dismount. Ultimately finishing in fifth in the all-around, expect big gymnastics from Turner in elite before heading to Iowa as she was leading the all-around after day one of competition. 

7. If you like Florida’s bar lineup…

Jenna Lalonde (uncommitted ‘24) brings some of Canada’s most fluid bars skills to the National Team out of Ottawa, Ontario. Her toe point and leg extension rivals those of Riley McCusker and should make collegiate lineups easily at most programs. Her elite composition starts off with a stalder full to Maloney to Pak combination, a piked Jaeger with the same height as Savannah Schoenherr’s and the increasingly popular toe on Barani dismount. She broke the 13.000 benchmark at the DTB Pokal Team Challenge in March and almost reached it again on day one of the Canadian championships. 

8. If you’re already missing Clair Kaji on beam…

Nya Kraus (Lindenwood ‘26) of Gym Adventure puts on a clinic for jumps passing through split in every version of her 2022 routine. She brings options with her that all hit 180 degrees, including a switch half, split jump half and switch split—all to add into a routine with a side somi, front toss and layout double twist dismount. Kraus came into this competition after ranking second on beam and in the all-around at 2022 Western Canadians and led the level 10 16+ field on beam with a 9.437 at the end of the first day.

Click here to see all the results from the weekend, provided by SportzSoft. Routine coverage after the competition may be provided by GymCan. 

READ THIS NEXT: Current, Future NCAA Gymnasts Named to Canada’s Olympic Team


Article by Peri Goodman

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