M’CHIGEENG—The Manitoulin Mustangs held a ‘mock meet’ recently, inviting gymnasts from five schools—College Notre-Dame, Confederation, Horizon, Marymount and Sudbury Secondary—to Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) to compete, receive feedback and ready themselves for the Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics (NOSSA) and Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association (OFSAA) meets, the latter to be held in Sudbury.
“Things went very well on the whole,” said MSS gymnastics coach Heather Theijsmeijer. “The girls felt that it was like a meet, feeling nerves as though it were an actual competition.”
Ms. Theijsmeijer explained that the gymnastics season is a long one, beginning in November and ending with OFSAA at the beginning of May.
There are very few schools that have their own equipment, she explained, noting that all of the Sudbury schools train at a gymnastics centre. Because of this, there are no competitions in the lead up to NOSSA. The gymnasts build their skills for the first two months, learn their routines then compete. After five months spent learning and perfecting their skills, one bad day at NOSSA can mean the end of competition for an athlete, which is unfortunate, the coach added. Having a mock meet helps the girls on the road to NOSSA.
MSS is the only school in the North Shore Secondary Schools Athletic Association (NSSSAA) to have a gymnastics team and this gets them an automatic bye into NOSSA.
OFSAA will be held from May 3 to 5 in Sudbury and as the NOSSA gymnastics committee, of which Ms. Theijsmeijer is a part, is the host. Manitoulin gymnasts will have the opportunity to help their coach with officiating jobs and hopefully to compete as well.
The equipment at Manitoulin Secondary (vault, bars, and beam) are on loan to the school, provided it continues to have a gymnastics team. MSS has had a team for nine years under Ms. Theijsmeijer’s coaching direction.