Minnedosa’s Isabela Onyshko has served notice that she is one of the top up-and-coming young gymnasts in the country.
The 14-year-old member of the Brandon Eagles Gymnastics Club placed fifth all-around in the junior women’s category — featuring the country’s best 14-and-15-year-old gymnasts — at the prestigious Elite Canada event on Saturday and Sunday in Sherwood Park, Alta., a competition that determines the high performance athletes of the year.
It was an impressive showing in her first trip to Elite Canada.
"It was exceptionally good," Eagles head coach Lorie Henderson said. "Considering it was only her second meet at a national level, I think to make the top six is exceptional ... She gets high performance status and it starts her on the way to becoming a national team member."
In addition to placing fifth in the all-around competition — a combined result from vault, uneven bars, beam and floor exercise — Onyshko also made individual event finals in bars (placing fifth) and beam (seventh). Her performance in her debut at Elite Canada even caught her off-guard.
"It feels great and I was really happy with how I did," said Onyshko, who trains more than 30 hours a week. "I didn’t expect to make the top five, so I was really happy ... My goal is to make the national team one day, that is what I am hoping for. But you have to work hard."
Onyshko was doing precisely that yesterday, back in the gym training again one day after returning home.
Onyshko competed in the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games and made her first trip to the Canadian championships last year when she finished fourth overall as a 13-year-old competing in the 13-15-year-old girls division. Next up will be the Manitoba Open provincial championships on April 13-14 in Winnipeg, followed by nationals in Ottawa from May 20-25 as Onyshko continues to strive to make the national team one day.
"You just have to take it one step at a time and that would be our next goal is to make the national team," Henderson said. "She is going to have to show that she can consistently stay at this level ... She just went into the (national) system this year, so she’s going to have to prove herself, basically."