Gymnast makes the grade for provincial team

Leanne Perrich will represent the province at Western Canadian Gymanstics Championships in the beginning of May.

Local athlete Leanne Perrich will represent B.C. at the Western Canadian Gymanstics Championships.

Local athlete Leanne Perrich will represent B.C. at the Western Canadian Gymanstics Championships.

Leanne Perrich is off to the biggest stage of her gymnastics career.

The Cranbrook athlete did well enough in trials to earn a spot on Team B.C. that will compete in the upcoming Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships in Winnipeg.

Perrich came in third overall in trials in Langley over spring break, with results good enough to get onto the provincial team, which is a first-ever feat for a female gymnast out of the Key City Gymnastics Club.

“It’s really exciting…I really wanted to try and make it this year. If I didn’t make it this year, I was going to try again next year,” said Perrich, a Grade 11 student at Mount Baker Secondary School.

“It’s a whole different kind of thing, because you travel with the team and I won’t know anyone there, so it’s kind of exciting to get to know new people and train with them and compete in a bigger competition.”

The Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships pits the top gymnasts from B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The event is used a springboard to advance to higher levels of competition, such as Canadian nationals and Canada Winter Games.

“She did really well,” said Gary Ricks, a coach with Key City Gymnastics Club. “I think going in, I knew that going in, there was a really good shot for her to do really well if she stuck all her routines and hit all the events.”

Perrich is coming off a first place finish at provincials last year, where she competed in P4 (level 4), but decided to move up another step this past season.

Perrich has been with the club for the last 12 years, and has worked with Ricks for a lot of them.

“It’s been great, because all along, she went at her own pace and had progressed at her own pace, so it was nice to see all that hard work pay off for her,” Ricks said.

“…She’s new to level five this year so she doesn’t have all of the difficulty yet, that all the other kids have, but she’s also one of the cleanest gymnasts in our province. She just came off winning P4 provincials last year, so for her, it was a big jump.”

Perrich will join up with the rest of the provincial team for the western championships when the event kicks off in the beginning of May.