Eight young ladies have skated onto Team Yukon for the 2014 Arctic Winter Games this March.
Yukon’s figure skating team for the Games was announced following the Yukon Gold Nugget Interclub Competition and Arctic Winter Games trials Friday and Saturday at the Canada Games Centre.
Set to represent Yukon are Landyn Blisner, Tessa Moore and Meghan Birmingham in Level 1; Jenelle Clethero and Kayla Armstrong in Level 2; Kelcy Armstrong, Mikayla Kramer and Morgan Madden in Level 3.
All eight are members of Whitehorse’s Arctic Edge Skating Club.
At 10 years old, Moore was too young to compete at the 2012 Games, so she participated as a flower girl at the skating competition.
“I’m happy because I get to go to Fairbanks and get the experience of going with the team and representing the Yukon,” said Moore, who won a silver in the Gold Nugget on Saturday.
It was the same story for 11-year-old Kramer, who set a personal best score en route to a gold medal in the Nugget.
“I was really disappointed a couple years ago because I couldn’t go because I was too young and I really wanted to go,” said Kramer. “This year I’m really excited because it’s a really good experience for everybody to have – a week with the whole team and you’re just having fun.”
Of the eight skaters, Kelcy Armstrong has far and away the most Games experience.
She is the only one who competed at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse, placing fourth in the Ladies 3 free program.
She also competed at the 2010 Arctic Games in Grande Prairie, Alta., taking fourth overall in the Ladies 1 division.
“Kelcy’s been skating since she was very little … I think she started skating when she was three years old,” said Arctic Edge chair Stacey Hays. “She’s been involved for a long time and her sister Kayla has been involved for quite a few years.”
Yukon’s two medal winners from the 2012 Games – Bryn Hoffman and Rachel Pettitt – now skate at too high a level to qualify for the 2014 Arctic Games this March in Fairbanks, Alaska.
A total of 21 skaters from the Arctic Edge Skating Club and four from Alaska’s Juneau Skating Club competed at the Gold Nugget, which is the Yukon championships.
The Gold Nugget competition featured the STARSkate program for a second straight year. The STAR program, which stands for Skills, Tests, Achievement and Recognition, is a nationally standardized testing system. It places more emphasis on skill-development than competition. In the system, skaters are scored and awarded on their performances, but are not ranked against each other, so there can be multiple golds, silvers and bronze in each division.
The program began as a pilot project within B.C. and Yukon last season and has since been adopted nationwide, said Hays.
“(Skate Canada) found it successful because the skaters get credit on their own merits, so if they all achieve the gold standard, they get the gold medal,” said Hays. “There’s a pretty clear set of what they need to accomplish in their program. It’s not until they’re older and at higher levels that they rank them and put them in order.
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