Ashley Burke, Beverly Smetaniuk and Mitchell Dunn represented the Quesnel Figure Skating Club well in Chilliwack. Submitted photo

Quesnel figure skaters take part in early-season meet

Ashley Burke, Beverly Smetaniuk and Mitchell Dunn compete at Autumn Leaves Challenge in Chilliwack

Three members of the Quesnel Figure Skating Club gracefully glided down to Chilliwack this weekend (Oct. 18-20) for the 2019 Autumn Leaves Super Series.

Ashley Burke, Beverly Smetaniuk and Mitchell Dunn all skated excellently at the event, which was held at the city’s Twin Rinks Arena.

The three skaters have carried over their routines from last year, so were given the go-ahead to compete at the early-season meet.

“Most of our kids got new programs or new solos this year so because it’s so early in the season — it’s six weeks after they get on the ice full-time — I didn’t recommend that most of them go,” says Carly Dinicol, the club’s head coach.

Dunn, the lone skater in the competitive category — the other club members skate in STARSkate — is skating on a different schedule than his teammates, so this was his second meet of the season. The young, talented skater advanced levels this year — from Juvenile to Pre-Novice — and the competition has risen significantly.

“The kids he’s skating against compete year-round,” says Dinicol.

She points out Dunn travelled to Prince George two or three times a week during spring and summer while the ice in Quesnel was out, but it was still short of what the skaters he was up against will often do. The head coach says some of them will practise as much as six times a week.

While Dunn finished fourth out of five skaters, Dinicol says he did quite well.

“He’s still improving his points at every competition he goes to,” she says. “He’s very, very focused and has got all his doubles in his solos down, which is incredible because he basically learned them all last year.”

Dinicol goes on to say his performance is still not quite at the level of his peers, but she is confident he will perform very well in the Pre-Novice level as the year progresses and should be “sitting pretty” when he gets to stay in it next year.

Dunn’s next competition will be the Skate Canada Sectionals Super Series in Kelowna Nov. 7-8.

Smetaniuk, who is now transitioning into a coach with the team, skated at the Star 6 level.

“She did really well,” Dinicol says. “She didn’t beat her personal best, but she got really close to it, which is good for this time of year.”

Smetaniuk finished 16th in a field of 21 skaters.

Burke fared well too, smashing her personal best from last year by 1.6 points, which Dinicol says is a huge improvement.

She finished fifth out of 12 in her Star 5 group.

The club members are all ramping up for the first competition where the majority of them will compete. The Okanagan Interclub Competition will be held Nov. 22-24 in Summerland.

READ MORE: Quesnel Figure Skating Club receives grant to provide equipment to less fortunate

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