Surrey gymnasts won big at an annual invitational in Guildford over the weekend.
The event, hosted by Surrey Gymnastics Society, saw about 750 athletes competing throughout the weekend, said society CEO Jocelyn Chua. Throughout the weekend, the girls competed in the Carol Lenz Memorial and the boys competed in the Surrey Classic.
Dozens of athletes with the Surrey Gymnastics Society competed in the annual invitational at the Guildford Recreation Centre March 1 to 3. Chua also said the invitational includes gymnasts from throughout B.C., as well as Alberta.
The Surrey gymnasts who placed or medalled are: Megan Ma, Chloe Ostrosser, Harsimran Rakhra, Charlie Sunshine, Madeleine Gassien, Gianna Brown, Mia Morales, Carrie Ma, Japjit Dhanoa, Brianna Lopez, Avia Punzalan, Dinea Usison, Emilyna Keo, Sofia Villamil, Adriana Garbe, Sanne-Lise Garbe, Isabeau Isaacson, Melissa Piliotis, Erin Harvey, Alexa Cannon, Alice Bashko, Paul Bashko, Yeshen Mootoosamy, Jay Mehta, Luke Van Harmelen, Treyson Cerrato.
The Carol Lenz Memorial invitational is named in honour of Carol Ann Lenz, a former coach with Surrey Gymnastics Society, who died in a car crash on the Pattullo Bridge in 1983, said her mom Eleanor Lenz.
Carol Ann, said Eleanor, started out in gymnastics at the age of six. Over the year, Eleanor said, Carol Ann progressed and was told she was “Olympic calibre” and would be have to go to Oregon to train.
Eleanor said that Carol Ann ultimately chose not to go that route and carried on with gymnastics until she was about 15 or 16 years old, and then helped coach at Surrey Gymnastics Society.
Carol Ann was 18, almost 19 years old, and going to Douglas College when she was killed in the car accident, Eleanor said.
“It was a very windy day. It was Nov. 15 (in 1983) and it was extremely windy going over the bridge, and a van went by with a ladder tied on with electrician’s wire, which is not a legal tie-down and it flew off the van and went through the windshield of her car.”
It was two years later in 1985, Eleanor said, that the Surrey Gymnastics Society held the first invitational in Carol Ann’s honour.
“It started out just as a little handful of girls… and it’s now grown to 750 girls from all over B.C.,” Eleanor said. “When I was asked… what kind of a meet would I think (Carol Ann_ would like, and I said, ‘I think she probably would like a meet for little girls who would never be able to go to western Canadian championships, the provincials or nationals; a meet where they could come and do gymnastics and get medals and awards.”
As the society wrapped up its annual invitational it is now facing an “uncertain future,” said Chua.
“Due to an expansion project at Frank Hurt Secondary,” Chua said. “We have recently been given warning that we may need to vacate by the end of 2019. We are working hard to find a new location.”
Chua said the society is looking into a partnership with the City of Surrey, “along with other possible arrangements.”
“But time is short and it will be a significant challenge for our beloved club and it’s 700 members.”