Record-breaking weekend for Spirals at provincials
The Camrose Spirals will be sending at least nine members to the Rope Skipping Canada National Championships.
The club qualified two teams at the provincial championships which they hosted at the University of Alberta-Augustana on the weekend. The junior girls (13-14) team calling themselves Extreme Elevation — Varonica Newcombe, Mackenzie Essex, Charlie Broughton, Keeley Lamson, Harlee Rasmussen — finished in second place in their division, as did the Four Musketeers — Anna Mutton, Ashlyn Morrow, Matthew Fenrich, Emma Searle — in the mixed novice (11-12) division. Both teams will be off to Windsor, Ont., for the May 18-21 Canadian championship.
"Overall this was our best competition of the season," said head coach Jodi Harrison, who is assisted b y Carly Angelstad. "From our first competition in January, they improved all of their scores."
The Spirals U10 team Golden Girls — Adia Harrison, Alexandra Olson, Eden Zarski, Schafer Broughton, Jayla Kelendorfer — won gold in their division but have decided not to continue on to the national level. The club also qualified several individual skippers for Windsor, but they had not all been confirmed as of Tuesday morning.
This was the first time in six years that Camrose has hosted a jump rope competition.
"It was really exciting for them because I would say probably most of these competitors have never competed in Camrose," said Harrison. "Having that many people cheering at their routines, they're not used to that, I think that helped spur them on."
She said the expectations in Ontario are for the Four Musketeers to learn from this experience as their first trip to nationals, but the hope is Extreme Elevation can push for a podium.
The older team is heading in with some extra momentum as they beat the Alberta record for double Dutch 4X45 in their division with 331 right jumps on their right foot. The mark they beat was their own at 321 which they set in the first competition of the season.
Their record is a reflection their hard work and of a ratcheting up of competition levels and the improvement of the sport across the board over the last few years.
"In the last two years we've seen a huge improvement in speed, not just in our club but across Alberta," said Harrison. "There's been a big push to get faster speed scores and break all of the old records, because some of the records haven't been broken in five to 10 years and now we are seeing them broken at every competition."
Team scores are compiled over the course of a weekend and include speed records and their choreographed routines that are set to music. The choreographed routines show off the team's ability to work in unison and their athleticism with more and more complicated tricks being worked in all of the time.
This was the first time since 2012 that the Spirals have hosted provincials and that improvement in competition is reflected in the number of competitors with 116 as compared to the 60-70 the last time Camrose hosted. This year nine clubs from across Alberta were represented at the competition.
"The sport has grown tremendously since then," said Spirals president and manager Crystal Rasmussen. "They keep getting better and better. They're doing tricks that probably five years ago you would not have seen a younger even try to do … the skills are improving for sure."
Harrison will also be accompanying four members to Orlando for the world championships from July 1-10 as Harlee Rasmussen, Felicity Fenrich, Charlie Broughton, and Lamson will all be competing.
The club has two divisions, recreational and competitive. Newcomers to the club usually spend at least one season from September to December in the recreational level. If they pass CanSkip they are invited into the competitive program as bridge athletes, getting to train and work with the other competitive skippers, but usually will not start competing themselves until the following year.
For more information on the club go to www.camrosespirals.ca.
"It is still mostly girls, but there are a lot more boys joining skip rope and realizing what a competitive and hard sport it is," said Rasmussen. "It's one of the most rigorous training (exercises) out there. The amount of endurance it takes to do this three nights a week for two and a half hours is crazy."