Arctic Edge skaters make the grade

While it's getting to the time of year for examinations in schools, some Arctic Edge skaters were being put to the test on the ice this past weekend.

While it’s getting to the time of year for examinations in schools, some Arctic Edge skaters were being put to the test on the ice this past weekend.

Twenty-seven Arctic Edge members participated in the club’s end of season “test day” at the Canada Games Centre on Sunday, passing a total of 66 tests to advance to the next level of competition for next season.

Taking the academic school comparison a step further, Arctic Edge’s Michelle Gorczyca, 19, graduated – in a way.

On her third attempt at the test, Gorczyca earned her Senior Competitive Freeskate certification, the highest level in the freeskating discipline.

“That is a big deal,” said Cheryl Van Blaricom, chair of Arctic Edge. “That’s the level of technical qualification you need to skate with the people you see on television – that’s the best it gets.”

Gorczyca, who also coaches for the club, recently returned to competitive skating after taking a year off from the sport.

“I was scoping my options, so I thought I’d take a year or two to just explore coaching, working and other things – and I go to school part-time,” said Gorczyca. “But this was one of my goals, to get my senior test. I thought, ‘Why not, it’s the end of the year.’ And it worked out well.

“So next year I’ll be back competing because I really missed it.”

Before moving to Whitehorse from Ontario in 2007, Gorczyca skated in pairs to an international silver medal in Slovenia in 2004. Making her certification all the more special, Gorczyca chose her music and choreographed her program herself.

Other highlights from the flurry of tests include three gold level dances, two by Carrie McLelland and another by Ellen Bohmer. McLelland, completing the Argentine and quick-step tests, has only one left to pass, while Bohmer, passing her Argentine, has now completed all four gold dances.

“Those are significant achievements,” said Van Blaricom. “Those were the only gold dances.”

Test day also saw two competitive freeskates, resulting in Rachel Pettitt passing her pre-novice competitive freeskate and Bryn Hoffman her novice. In fact, Arctic Edge had eight skaters complete their preliminary freeskate, a good sign for the future said Van Blaricom.

“We have a nice base of young skaters who are coming forward and going up through the junior program,” she said.

Many of the skaters test had not long ago returned from the Vancouver Island Skate International Competition in Victoria, BC in mid-April, including Pettitt and Hoffman, who won medals. (See results below.)

Vancouver Island Skate International results

1st Taylor Schneider – pre-preliminary elements

2nd Taylor Schneider – pre-preliminary freeskate

2nd Brittany Au – pre-preliminary elements

3rd Morgan Madden – pre-preliminary elements

3rd Kristen LeGrow – pre-introductory interpretive

1st Vina Nelson – preliminary elements

2nd Maya Austin – junior bronze elements

2nd Maya Austin – introductory interpretive

3rd Rachel Pettitt – bronze interpretive event

2nd Bryn Hoffman – pre-novice ladies event

3rd Bryn Hoffman – silver interpretive event

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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