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Photo by Dayna Turnbull

Columba Students Shine at NZ National Gymnastics Championships!

Miss D Turnbull —

In June 2022, the Otago Women's Artistic Gymnastics team was named and included five Columba College students. The representatives were Abrielle Nicol (Step 5), Charlotte Bloxham and Holly Weatherall (Step 6), Zuzanna Kochan (Step 7) and Molly Ballard (Step 10).

These students were selected based on rigorous criteria set by Gymnastics New Zealand after performing over the competition season which runs from March until July.

Over the holidays, they represented Otago at the New Zealand Gymnastics Championships, the pinnacle annual event for the Gymnastics Calendar in New Zealand each year. This year the event was hosted by Invercargill at ILT Stadium and ran from the 13th of July until the 16th of July. It is an enormous event with all the genres of gymnastics represented: Men's and Women's Artistic Gymnastics, Rhythmic Gymnastics, Aerobics, Tumbling and Trampolining. Hundreds of athletes from around the country gather to compete.

The Otago Men's and Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team were hugely successful. It was one of the most, if not the most successful Nationals campaign for an Otago Artistic Gymnastics squad to date.

Columba College was well represented by its students with the following results:

  • Special Award - Hawke Cup for cup the best presented and behaved Junior (Step 5 and 6) Team
  • Proficiency Pins - for reaching a standard of excellence at the National event - awarded to Molly Ballard, Charlotte Bloxham, Zuzanna Kochan and Holly Weatherall. 
  • Step 5 - Abrielle Nicol was the youngest member of the Otago squad and performed beautifully. She had a great first Nationals.
  • Step 6 - Team National Champions! Charlotte Bloxham and Holly Weatherall were two of the four team members that won gold and are now the reigning National Champion Step 6 Team. This was a monumental achievement as it has been in the realm of 28 years since Otago won a Junior Women's Artistic Gymnastics Team medal and there has not been a junior team gold since the 1980s. They received the Kirstie Grayson Memorial Trophy in recognition of this success.
  • Charlotte Bloxham came second place on beam winning a silver medal. She also came in fifth overall in the All-Around event for her age division and fifth equal across both age divisions.
  • Holly Weatherall came third equal place on floor winning a bronze medal. She also came in sixth overall in the All-Around event for her age division. 
  • The top eight in the All-Around event are acknowledged given the significance of such an achievement hence both Charlotte and Holly were awarded ribbons for their All-Around placings. 
  • Step 7 - Zuzanna Kochan qualified for apparatus finals in bar and came in fifth in the finals on bar. 
  • Step 10 - Molly Ballard stunned with another gold medal-winning performance. For the second year in a row, she is the National All-Around Champion and was awarded the Step 10 overall high score trophy! This is an outstanding achievement.

Our students are happy about their success and we as a school community could not be more proud, well done!