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Skating club returns to competition after long hiatus

Five skaters competed in weekend competition in Victoria
Julie Middleton competes at the 2022 Vancouver Island FunSkate Competition. Photo courtesy Rory Allen.

Skaters from the Campbell River Skating Club have once again felt the thrill of competition — for the first time in over two-and-a-half years — and rose to the occasion.

Five skaters from the club competed in the 2022 Vancouver Island FunSkate Competition, held March 18 to 20 in Victoria. This event was organized to replace two events scheduled earlier in the year that were ultimately cancelled.

Competitions are important because of the atmosphere they provide, said Rory Allen, coach and director of programs.

“It doesn’t matter what sport you’re talking about — as soon as you get a live audience, they’re announcing, and you’re in a different arena, it completely changes the whole vibe,” he said. “Kids thrive off of opportunities like that.”

Plunging back into competing took some adjustment from the skaters, he said.

“They did outstanding, but definitely the emotional end of things, like keeping kids and parents calm, was a big priority and a big focus,” he said. “It’s just been a long time since they’ve been outside their comfort zone.”

It was also a new experience for Allen, as it was the first time for him coaching a competition since starting with the club.

The competition was a free skate solo.

“It contains all the technical elements they’ve been working on this year — all their jumps and spins, and they’re graded on their skating skills and transitions,” said Allen. “It’s all encompassing — their technical elements and also how they actually skate.”

The club’s skaters were relieved at having attended the event.

“The kids that went are saying it was such a great decision,” he said.

The club is competing in another competition soon, the Vancouver Island Skate International Competition, held April 1 to 3.

“There’s people from as far away as White Horse coming down, so it’s an inter-provincial event — that’s going to be a good one,” he said. “It’s a tight turnaround for an opportunity to make a few corrections, but also to maintain enthusiasm and keep the momentum going.”

The results from the competition were as follows: Julia Middleton (Bronze — Star 1, Group 1), Alicia McKinnon (Bronze — Star 2, Group 7), Payton Hebb (Silver — Star 3, Group 2), Stephanie Watts (Silver — Star 3, Group 4), Olivia Vardy (Bronze — Star 3, Group 4), Stephanie Watts (Gold — Star 3 Elements), and Payton Hebb (Star 3 — Silver Elements).

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Payton Hebb, coach Rory Allen, and Stephanie Watts of the Campbell River Skating Club. Photo courtesy Rory Allen.