The young Rhythm Roper skipping teams peaked at the national tournament held in Abbotsford on May 15 to 19.
The Nelson club took five full teams to the nationals, each one on the young side of their age categories.
The theme of the club this year has been “accept the challenge” and they certainly did at the event.
Competition was fierce in every age division. The club had just finished hosting the provincials two weeks before, and then with the other clubs in BC co-hosted the Abbotsford event.
“This is a challenge in itself as you have so many extra responsibilities and focus areas that you have to be careful that you don’t get distracted,” said coach Brenda Reid. “Our focus was to peak at nationals and have a strong showing and to make it onto the podium.
“Our club comes from a small city with a limited number of jumpers and very little exposure to other jumpers throughout the year.”
Going up against jumpers who compete more often was “daunting” for the local squad, but the Ropers held their own.
“We jumped numerous personal bests in speed and power and definitely jumped cleaner freestyle routines than at provincials,” said the coach.
During the precision group routine competition, the 11 and under entry — which included Willa Morrison, Kaitlyn Fitchett, Maya Pierson, Nadine Lehr, Amy Schellenberg , Skyla Short , Lauren Robertson, Angelia Thomson and Aaron Spurge — had a good jump and placed second.
The very young open team — led by Tessa Exley and consisting of Bradley Spurge, Joscelyn Koehle Lauren Hartridge, Abby Jackson, Emily Schellenberg, Alicia Montpellier , Ella Peloso, Kalina Spurge, Aimee Montpellier and Michelle Oudemans — went up against the veteran jumpers from Ontario and had an impressive Third place finish.
Saturday and Sunday were team event days and the Awesome Dinosaur Jelly Bean Ropers led the way for the Rhythm Ropers setting two national records and taking first overall in the 8 and 9 mixed age category.
The team consisted of Conor Jackson, Jessica Fitchett, Tanner Jackson and Sarah Robertson.
This was quickly followed by a first overall finish in the 10 and 11 mixed category by the team of Crazy Skittles. They were proud of their Double Dutch routines. The jumpers on this team were Skyla Short, Aaron Spurge, Angelia Thomson, Nadine Lehr and Sophia Peloso.
Keeping in step the Little Miss Ropers of Maya Pierson, Amy Schellenberg, Lauren Robertson, Willa Morrison and Kaitlyn Fitchett jumped two amazing Double Dutch freestyle routines which helped them secure a third place overall medal.
The Kootenay Kicking Ropers of Abby Jackson, Emily Schellenberg, Lauren Hartridge, Ella Peloso and Alicia Montpellier are all at the very young end of the 12 to 14 age category and it is also one of the largest and toughest age categories to compete in.
“We were hoping for at least a fourth or fifth place ribbon and were ecstatic with their first place finish in Double Dutch pairs freestyle.”
Terminal Velocity the 15 to 17 mixed team consisting of Bradley Spurge, Joscelyn Koehle Aimee Montpellier Michelle Oudemans and Kalina Spurge were also a very young team with the majority of the jumpers being 14 or 15 years old.
However, they took on the stiff competition and earned first place finishes in single rope pairs freestyle and four-man freestyle along with several second and third place finishes to take the third overall spot.
The older jumpers from the Rhythm Ropers — Tessa Exley, Lillea Goian and Emily Musa — joined up with other 18+ jumpers from around BC and Alberta and had fun jumping some of the speed and power events. They managed to score some fourth and fifth place ribbons.
Conor Jackson placed first in 30 second speed and three minute endurance and first overall in boys 9 and under.
Tanner Jackson used several second place finishes to placed third overall in boys 9 and under.Aaron Spurge placed third in power and fourth overall in boys 10 and 11. Sarah Robertson placed fourth in power. Angelia Thomson placed first overall in her freestyle solo and fifth overall Maya Pierson placed third overall in her freestyle solo. Willa Morrison had a third place finish in three minute endurance. Lauren Robertson had a fourth place finish in 30 second speed. Kalina Spurge placed first in 30 second and second overall in girls 12-14. Bradley Spurge used a first in his solo and second in his 30 second speed to help him attain a fourth overall finish. Kate Exley placed second in her freestyle.
The event ended with the announcement of the Rope Skipping Canada Scholarship and Nelson’s Tessa Exley was the winner.