Eleven members of the Kelowna Skating Club competed against the country’s best at the 2016 Skate Canada Challenge last week in Edmonton.
The Challenge event serves as a qualifying round for Novice, junior, and Senior events, and the National Championships for Pre-Novice events.
“The Kelowna team showed great skill and poise,” said KSC coach Jason Mongrain, “with several skaters ranking amongst the best in the country.”
A highlight of the week occurred in the Novice Women’s division, as 12-year-old Olivia Gran won both of her segments and the overall title thanks to a personal best and new Canadian record score of 130.23 points—over 14 points more than the second place finisher, Aurora Cotop of Ontario.
Gran’s free program included a triple lutz and double axel triple toe combination, both of which received high execution scores from the judging panel.
Meanwhile, Emma Bulawka, who represents Alberta but trains at Kelowna, finished sixth in the field of 60 skaters on the strength of two strong programs.
With their top-18 finishes, Gran and Bulawka have qualified to the Canadian Championships at Halifax next month.
At the Junior level, Kelowna’s Mckenna Colthorp skated 2 technically demanding programs to finish with a score of 129.92 points and the silver medal, less than .2 points behind the first place finisher, Amanda Tobin of Ontario.
Rachel Pettitt of Whitehorse, but trains at Kelowna, also qualified to the Nationals in January, thanks to her 9th place finish in the 54 skater event.
Kelowna’s Ajsha Gorman narrowly missed qualifying, finishing 22nd overall.
On the men’s side, Kelly Basisty finished 19th and is the alternate to the Nationals.
Haley Sales, and her partner, Nikolas Wamsteeker, won the bronze medal in the Junior Dance event. Sales, a long time member of the Kelowna Skating Club, is now training at Burnaby in a competitive ice dance program.
At the senior level, Cailey England and Julianne Delaurier finished 24th and 34th, respectively, in a field of Canada’s top female skaters.
Kelowna also had a pair of skaters competing at their first National Championships in the Pre-Novice Womens’ event. Ashley Sales, 11, opened with the 25th-best short program, but stormed back with the fifth-best free program, catapulting herself to a 9th place overall finish.
Her training mate, Mikayla Kramer, who represents Arctic Edge of Whitehorse, finished 21st in the field of 60 skaters.
“These are obviously great results for our club,” said KSC Director Jason Mongrain. “At this event, the main goal is to qualify through, but it is very reaffirming to see our skaters rank so well against Canada’s best.”