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Local gymnasts don Team Ontario colours

Barry Wright The determination of Lexi McCormack has paid off.
Athletes from Bluewater Gymnastics fared well at recent events in Windsor and Belleville. Their best finishes are in brackets. Back row, from left, Hayley Tarboton (third-bars), Makayla Smith (first-bars), Lexi McCormack (third-vault), Serena Baker (first-bars), Emily Wilson (fourth-beam), Amy Bladon (first-floor), Shea Skinn-Wai (third-vault) and Trinity Morningstar (seventh-beam); front row, Jovie Richardson (first-vault, second overall), Jordyn Somers (second-bars and floor), Madison Gabel (first-beam and second overall), Rachael Riley (second-floor) Ava King (third-beam and bars) and Lyla D’andrea (second-floor). Barry Wright

Barry Wright

The determination of Lexi McCormack has paid off.

After falling just short of her goal in previous elite meets, the 16-year-old member of the Bluewater Gymnastics Club finally broke through at the recent Team Ontario Tour Selection meet in Belleville.

McCormack won the vault event and finished third overall and was chosen, along with club mate Serena Baker, 17, to represent Ontario next month.

The pair will attend a meet in Arizona where they'll compete against some of the best gymnasts in their age groups from across North America.

Baker won the bars event at the same competition while capturing the bronze medal in the vault.

“I think I was just more confident this time,” said McCormack. “I've been training a lot.”

Her goal at the U.S. event is to do her best and have fun, she said.

The tenacity of the talented teen hasn't been lost on her coach Liz Brubaker.

“She has always fallen just short of her goal, so we were pretty proud of her when she achieved that, that's for sure,” she said.

While McCormack and Baker will start the new year in Arizona, another trio of athletes from the Sarnia facility had a planned trip to a competition in France cancelled due to the recent terrorist activities in Paris.

Amy Bladon, Jovie Richardson and Rachael Riley would have gone to Europe by virtue of event results in Windsor and Belleville last month.

“It's a great competition,” said Brubaker. “It's a really good first international meet for kids, so we know we can go next year, (2017) if things settle down and we feel it's a little bit safer to travel there.”

It may not have quite the same appeal as traveling to Paris, but the trio of girls received enough points at recent events to be invited to an Elite Canada event in Halifax in early February.

Overall, Bluewater Gymnastics athletes all performed well at the two events, according to Brubaker, amassing several medals and finishing in the top seven in all their events.

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