Quesnel’s two arenas were bustling figure skating eco-systems this weekend (Jan 18-20).
Although there was often action on the ice, bystanders could be just as entertained watching the activities of the costumed skaters doing their warm ups, skipping around the tracks on the second level of West Fraser Centre or getting animated last-minute advice from their coaches.
Parents and relatives clapped thunderously at every completed move their favourites landed and people took the chance to reconnect with the members of the community they see year-after-year.
Of note was the Quesnel Kangaroo hockey players offering their time to volunteer on behalf of their fellow ice inhabitants.
Quesnel Figure Skating Club’s head coach, Carly Dinicol, says it was amazing.
“Everybody from out of town was absolutely thrilled with how our community came together.”
Some of the highest praise came from the judges. Although it was not just the skating they had kind words for.
“All the judges look forward to coming to Quesnel, as the food is the best,” Dinicol says, “It’s because everything is homemade.”
On the ice itself, the hometown team fared very well. The competition saw many young skaters go under the bright lights for the first time, as well as seasoned club vets improve upon their best scores.
Sophie Hayner won first place in the Star 4 Girls 13-and-over Freeskate. Her coach says it is her first time standing on the top step of the podium, and nobody thinks it will be her last.
Katelynn Grant also performed magnificently, snagging a first place for Star 5 Elements.
“That was very good,” Dinicol says. “They combined all the ages [for that category] so for her to win when she’s only 10 is pretty cool.”
Alexa McTavish had a personal best score for Star 5 Girls 13-and-over Freeskate and nabbed a silver medal in the process.
Dinicol says McTavish was not all that pleased with her skate, but her mood was quickly flipped once she received the medal.
Mitchell Dunn continued his strong performances of late with a first-place showing in the Juvenile Men Freeskate category.
Dunn, who has improved significantly since training in Prince George all summer, beat his personal best score by a wide margin.
“He had four extra points,” says Dinicol. “That’s an increase of 25 per cent compared to his regular points.”
She adds Dunn is landing almost all of his double jumps, which means he will probably be moving onto triples this summer.
“It gives me goosebumps,” she says.
Beverly Smetaniuk had an eventful weekend, winning first place in Star 6 Elements, as well as scoring an eighth place on her silver interpretive test.
She and Anneliese Hunter-Owega, who also passed her Silver Interpretive by scoring a ninth-place finish, will look to try their Gold Interpretive this year.
Dinicol says that would be the highest test offered in Canada.
Also impressing on testing were Avery Bowden, who got hold on her Star 3 Elements; Molly Leung, who scored gold on Star 2 Elements; and Taylor Backer who snagged a silver in her Star 1 Quad Threat.
“That was her first competition ever,” says Dinicol,” So for her to get the silver is pretty amazing. She’s a real up-and-comer.”