Heading down to Victoria, the Takhini Heartbeaters knew that the nationals were just a hop, skip and a jump away.
Well, mostly a skip.
Competing at the BC Yukon Provincial Rope Skipping Championships on the weekend, the Heartbeaters finished fifth as a team, securing a spot at the national championships being held over the May long-weekend in Abbotsford, BC.
“We skipped against some of the best in Canada and it’s a good eye-opener,” said Heartbeaters coach Judy Ratcliffe. “So they know now—they can see—it’s not just me saying, ‘Zero misses, zero misses, let’s go!’ They realize from their score sheets there were too many misses.
“In the 12-14 (age) group there were 30 kids, so to place in the top eight is really hard.”
Going to the national competition are the senior “mainstream” members of the team, who in the team events took third in the double dutch speed relay and in the double dutch pairs speed.
The mainstream team received praise over their double dutch pairs free event routine for creativeness, finishing fourth, but misses held them back.
“We have a chance to clean it up and do better at nationals,” said Ratcliffe. “It had good stuff in but you can only get credit for what you complete, so if you attempt a trick and you mess up you get no credit for attempting it.
“So hopefully in the next three weeks we can work on and more success at the nationals.”
Alex Schultz, making her seventh trip to the provincials, finished ninth overall in the individual events, getting sixth place in the consecutive double unders event and eighth in the 30-second speed.
“Alex did well due to her experience at competitions,” said Ratcliffe. “Her strength is that she has the ability to focus; she sets goals for herself and she pushed herself to reach those goals”
Although they failed to crack the top eight, Schultz and teammate Alysa Wiens will get to compete individually at the nationals because the hosting province can submit alternates to compete. BC and Yukon are grouped together.
The “rookie” part of the team produced stellar results at the championships, finishing in the top three in every team event, including four firsts.
Their success carried over into Sunday’s individual events with Reanna Newsome topping the field in the 10-11 single freestyle event, while teammate Emma Hoogland took a second and third in the three-minute speed and 30-second speed events.
In the youngest division Heatbeater Nila Stinson dominated, with two first-place finishes plus second- and third-place results in the speed events.
“She’s just one of those kids that’s a natural,” said Ratcliffe. “The judges like to know that you’re enjoying it and she’s one of those kids that you can’t help smiling when watching her skip.
“The judges often say, ‘We’re looking for the Wow factor.’ Nila has it because she needs to smile.
“Some kids when they go out to do their performances look like they wish they were somewhere else.”
Ratcliffe feels that the isolation and lack of competitions in the Yukon have made her team complacent. However, she hopes the trip to Victoria has inspired her team for the nationals.
“They say, ‘Yeah, I’m good enough—I’m better than everyone here,’” said Ratcliffe. “The kids down south go to three or four competitions a year; they go to the States. They see what top-notch kids can do all the time.
“Plus BC teams—Nelson, Abbotsford, especially Victoria—are strong nationally. When we go to nationals, those teams are going to be placing in the top three. So we were against stiff competition.”
Mainstream: Alex Schultz, Kimberley Dickson, Misty MacFarlane, Alysa Wiens, Ellysse Dunstan
Rookie: Emma Hoogland, Emily Bishop, Nila Stinson, Reanna Newsome, Heather Wilson
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org