Arctic Edge looks to continue success

The season is young, but the achievements are plentiful. Competing in the BC Coast Regional Competition in Surrey, BC, at the end of last month, two…

The season is young, but the achievements are plentiful.

Competing in the BC Coast Regional Competition in Surrey, BC, at the end of last month, two Arctic Edge figure skaters gave strong showings, including a first-place finish.

Rachel Pettitt, nine, brought home a gold in the introductory interpretive event and a fifth place finish in the pre-juvenile ladies freeskate.

“I think for the freeskate I could have done a bit better on the jumps,” said Pettitt. “But I think the performance and the spins were good … I fell on my double toe, but I landed both of my double sows and axels.”

“The strength of her skating is her spins,” said Cheryl Van Blaricom, publicity chair of the Glacier Bears. “They are very quick and low.”

Performing to Duke Ellington’s “It don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing,” Pettitt incorporated a baseball and swing music theme to her interpretive routine.

“We kind of play on the baseball at first, but then we go more into swing,” said Arctic Edge coach Trish Pettitt.

Despite her success, Rachel plans to raise the level of difficulty of her routines.

“I think in my interpretive (routine) I have to add a bit more hard stuff,” said Rachel. “The footwork is all kind of easy stuff …

“I’m trying to get some high jumps in my pre-juvenile one.”

The other Arctic Edge skater to compete was Amelia Austin, 16, who finished ninth in the short program, 11th in the long program and 11th overall in the novice ladies category.

“Her footwork was really good, she got really high marks on that technically on the short program,” said Trish of Austin. “She landed her double axel and just fell, which was her highest jump. So it was really good to see her do a double-axel … She rotated it; it was right there, she was just a little shy on the landing.

“That’s a great placing for Amelia,” continued Trish. “Had she landed her double axel, she would have been higher in the standings. It wasn’t her best skate, but she had some great qualities.”

Austin is currently living in BC and training with the Vancouver Skating Club, where she is receiving instruction from Adam Zalegowski, a former junior Polish skating champion.

“Where she had a really successful competition was when she went to the Saskatchewan Open competition in Saskatoon,” said Van Blaricom, referring to the SaskSkate Competition October 10-12. “That weekend she got third in the short program and first in the long, and she won Group 2 of novice ladies.”

Six Glacier Bears, including Rachel and Austin, will be competing in the BC/YT Sectionals next week in Nanaimo, BC.

“There’s lots of competitions, but because of where we are we don’t go to every one,” said Van Blaricom, explaining that there are about six competitions that Yukoners will attend, but most individuals will only compete in three.

“Even kids outside who are outside (of Yukon) don’t go to every competition because they need time to develop their stuff.”

Technical problems put a damper on the routines of some skaters at the BC Coast Regionals, as the music would occasionally cutout without warning. Rachel was one skater who suddenly found herself skating without accompaniment, when her music cut out with just 10 seconds left.

“It was right near the end when that happened,” said Rachel. “A coach was sitting right here videotaping me — I was just standing here, like ‘Uh oh.’ But they get good pictures because I’m just standing there.”

“It is quite unnerving when that happens,” said Pettitt. “She was really good waiting out that time until (the music was reset.)”

Yukon Championships will be held the first weekend of December at Takhini Arena in Whitehorse.

Contact Tom Patrick at

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