Consistent wins over the season have led to a big payoff for Whitehorse Arctic Edge skater Rachel Pettitt.
With another gold-medal win at the B.C. Sectionals over the weekend in Parksville, B.C., Pettitt has become the first Yukon skater to win Skate B.C.‘s Pond to Podium Super Series.
However, the 13-year-old is even more excited to qualify for the Skate Canada Challenge Event in Regina next month, which has been her goal all season.
“That was exciting,” said Pettitt of winning the Super Series. “It would be nice to get it, but my goal was just to get to Challenge. That was the main thing.”
Pettitt secured the Super Series win, which takes a skater’s best three results from six specific competitions over the season, with a first-place finish in pre-novice ladies at sectionals.
Her win was a come-from-behind effort. She placed fifth in the short program with a score of 29.68 to start the competition.
“I had a very good short. I was really happy getting off the ice,” said Pettitt, who landed a double-axel in the short. “It was the first competition I had ever tried a triple salchow in my program and I also just got new skates about a week before sectionals.”
Pettitt then moved into first out of 53 skaters, scoring a 52.64 in the free.
Oddly, her feelings were reversed after the free.
“I actually wasn’t that happy when I got off the ice,” said Pettitt. “To be honest, I thought I blew my chance because in order to go to Challenge you need top-four… I just didn’t feel good getting off the ice.
“There were still four skaters after me. I was in first but that could have changed.”
Pettitt didn’t have a lot of breathing room in the top spot. Her combined score of 82.32, which was a personal best, was just 0.13 up from second place and 0.20 up from third place.
“In my long (free) program I also did the triple salchow and it was a lot better,” said Pettitt. “I did my first double-axel, triple-toe and that went well. My second double-axel I sort of landed and slipped out. Everything else went pretty good.”
Pettitt’s outstanding season also landed her the Pre-Novice Women’s Champion Okanagan Region Award and the Pre-Novice Women’s B.C. Coast Region Champion Award.
Pettitt was joined by teammate Bryn Hoffman at the sectionals.
Hoffman, 15, who was competing in novice ladies with a new program, scored 29.38 in her short for eighth.
She then scored 59.07 in her free for seventh, placing sixth overall with a combined score of 88.45.
“I’m really happy with it,” said Hoffman, who completed a double axel and triple slachow. “I think I did the best I could in my long program.
“In my short program I fell on two jumps, and they were my hardest jumps that I’ve been working on. But in my long program I landed both of them, so I was really happy that I did that.”
It was Hoffman’s best result at sectionals; last year she placed ninth in pre-novice.
Pettitt, who also trains at the Kelowna Figure Skating Club in B.C., won silver at Skate B.C.‘s Autumn Leaves in Kamloops last month.
She started the season with back-to-back gold medals, taking first at the Super Series Victoria Day Competition in May, followed by first at SummerSkate in August.
At the Vancouver Island Skate International in April in Parksville, B.C., Pettitt took first in the free to win silver overall.
At the Arctic Winter Games in March, Hofffman won gold and Pettitt won silver in the Ladies 4 competition.
The Skate Canada Challenge Event is the national championships for the pre-novice division.
“She worked really hard for it,” said mother and coach Trish Pettitt. “She set her goal and her goal was to make Challenge. I think it’s pretty awesome.”
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