Whitehorse figure skaters welcomed autumn with strong performances last weekend.
Five skaters from the Arctic Edge Skating Club competed and two won medals at the Autumn Leaves competition, part of Skating B.C.‘s Super Series, last Friday and Saturday in Kamloops, B.C.
Rachel Pettitt skated to gold in novice ladies and teammate Tessa Moore claimed bronze in STAR 4 under-13 girls.
“I had a great short program,” said Pettitt. “My long was OK. I had some things that could be better, but I’m not complaining.”
Great indeed. Pettitt placed first in her short program with a score of 44.08, surpassing her previous best by almost seven points, and second in the long for first overall out of 16 skaters.
The 15-year-old finished with an overall score of 109.92, beating her previous best of 109.15 set at the Super Series Victoria Day competition in May.
In the short, “I landed all my jumps and executed them fairly well,” said Pettitt. “My spins were really good and I think I got really good component scores, which is performance, execution, my choreography.”
Moore placed third out of nine skaters in Group 2 of STAR 4. She has shown a lot of improvement lately, said coach Michelle Semaschuk.
“I thought she did a great job. She’s improved a lot in the last while and her elements were strong throughout,” she said. “All the girls have been practising really hard at home and it’s great to have them represent AESC.”
Teammates Bronwyn Hays and Jamie Nickel placed fourth and seventh, respectively, out of eight skaters in Group 1 of STAR 4 girls.
“They all did their axels, so they all skated really well,” said Arctic Edge coach Trish Pettitt. “All the competition was really close.
“Bronwyn skated very well, probably the best she could at that time. She did all her elements really strong.
“Jamie’s performance level was awesome. The skills that she did were really good. There were a couple deductions: she turned at the end of her jumps, but she did them.”
Arctic Edge’s Alissa Russell, who was skating in the higher STAR 5 under-13 girls, placed ninth.
Two axels and two double jumps, “so she’s increased her difficulty quite a bit from last year,” said Trish. “It was pretty impressive.”
“(Russell) did everything she could, probably 90 per cent, it’s just a matter now of just tightening up a couple of those tiny flaws. There were a couple things – she was a little over time in her music, so she got a bit of a deduction there and that adds up.”
Autumn Leaves marked the first time most of the Arctic Edge skaters competed since the end of last season at the Vancouver Island Skate International in April. At the season-ending meet Russell won two gold, Moore a silver and a bronze, Hays a bronze, in their respective categories.
Pettitt and Arctic Edge’s Mikayla Kramer are now gearing up for the 2015 B.C./Yukon Section Championships next month in Prince George.
“Training is going good. This competition I had a really good mindset going into it, so I want to keep that going before sections coming up,” said Rachel, who placed sixth last year, just missing a spot at nationals. “I know I’m going to have a better sections than I did last year.”
Pettitt was the first Yukoner to win Skate B.C.‘s Super Series season-long competition in pre-novice in 2012. She qualified for the Skate Canada Challenge national championship after becoming the first Yukoner to win gold at the B.C./Yukon Sectional Championships the same season. Pettitt placed fourth in pre-novice against 55 skaters at the nationals that year, which marks the highest finish by a Yukon skater at the event.
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