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Okotoks gymnasts overcome obstacles to Westerns

Mountain Shadows duo competing at Western Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships
Mountain Shadows gymnasts Brooke Spurway, Ava Serediuk and coach Deanna Critchley at the Okotoks club on March 26. Spurway and Serediuk qualified to compete for Team Alberta at the upcoming Western Canadian Gymnastics Championships.

The consistency queen and a first-time qualifier have climbed the Mountain to Westerns.

Mountain Shadows’ Brooke Spurway has qualified for her third consecutive trip to the Western Canadian Artistic Gymnastics Championships with teammate Ava Serediuk booking her ticket for a first time with the Okotoks gymnasts B.C. bound in mid-April.

“I’m really thankful because I know I had to work really hard to get here, my coach (Deanna Critchley) had to work really hard for me to get here and Mr. M (Jim McLuskey), all of my coaches,” Serediuk said.

“I’m realizing I’m at the stage now where I’m what I was looking up to when I was a little girl or really young. I would get hand-me-down Team Alberta gear from older athletes and now I’m getting that myself and that feels great.”

The gymnasts punched their ticket through a one-day westerns trials event in Red Deer on the fourth weekend of March.

The all-around scores from all four events are used to determine the top finishers from the province who advance to the Western Canadian Championships held April 18-20 in Langley, B.C.

At Westerns, the athletes compete in the all-around and the team event.

Serediuk, a Level 9 athlete, will be making her debut at Westerns after showing tremendous improvement from last season’s entry at trials at Level 8.

“My highlight for Ava is just seeing her character develop over the last year, for sure,” Critchley said. “At the same meet last year, trials to Westerns, she also started on beam and fell on beam and kind of thought, ‘Well, I guess I’m not going to Westerns.’

“This year, same thing, she fell on beam first go and after her routine and she said, ‘We’re still good, we’ve still got this.’ And it just showed how much more she believed in herself this year and that was really cool to see her growth there.”

The 15-year-old went on to post a personal best in the bars and vault events and she didn’t have to look far for motivation.

“I know now that you can fall and make teams, I know from experience with Brooke, she’s definitely fallen, made mistakes and still made teams,” Serediuk said.

Spurway had recently recovered from an injury, only allowing two weeks of skills training and one week of routine work in the ramp up to the event.

“It just showed her experience and her consistency and how long she’s been training these skills that she was able to get right back in there without really skipping a beat,” the coach added.

Spurway, a Level 10 athlete, will be making her third appearance in a row at Westerns.

She qualified as a full-fledged member of Team Alberta in 2022 and as a wildcard in 2023.

“It feels good to be back with the team so my scores will contribute to Team Alberta,” she said. “It’s such a fun experience with the girls because they’re not usually the athletes that I train with. It’s good to watch them train and get to know them better.”

This will mark the final season at the club for the longtime Mountain Shadows athlete.

Spurway, in her gap year, has earned an acrobatics and tumbling scholarship with the Wingate University Bulldogs in North Carolina.

In the lead up to Westerns, the athletes are focused on preparation above all.

“You don’t want to focus on results because that can be too much for yourself,” Serediuk added. “My goals are mostly to really train hard while I have the opportunity and use this opportunity the best I can because you don’t know how often it’s going to happen.

“A lot of girls work really hard to get this point so the chances of it happening again, unless you’re Brooke, are pretty low.”

Remy Greer

About the Author: Remy Greer

Remy Greer is the assistant editor and sports reporter for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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