Figure skating finishes fourth

Gaels win two gold, four bronze medals at Queen’s Invitational

A Gael warms up at the Queen’s Invitational skating competition at Jock Harty Arena last Friday.
A Gael warms up at the Queen’s Invitational skating competition at Jock Harty Arena last Friday.

The figure skating team kicked off its season last Friday at home with several solid performances at the Queen’s Invitational competition.

Queen’s earned two gold and four bronze medals en route to a fourth place finish overall.

McGill, Western and Brock took the top three spots.

Justin O’Shaughnessy won the men’s singles event, and Jamie Stuckless and Laura Keating finished first in the Senior Silver Similar dance event.

Bronze medals came from Cathryn Schroeder in the ladies’ short program, Kimberley Hord and Katie Phillips in the Dance Variation, Nadia Charania in Junior Silver singles and by team captains Rachel Coens and Katie Hunt in the Senior Similar Pairs.

Head coach Rhonda McKnight said the results were not as strong as she had hoped, but overall, the day was a success.

“There were some surprises, but I’m not disappointed.”

She said it was also a good opportunity to give rookies and lower-level skaters some competition experience.

Hunt said that, though the team is pleased with the results of its first outing, they expect to improve upon Friday’s performance.

“There’s definitely room for improvement in all of the events and we’re really excited for the next competition.”

Hunt said the event gave the Gaels a chance to gauge the level of competition they will be facing the rest of the season. The squad from McGill proved it’s very strong on the technical side of the sport, she said.

“We’re going to have to increase the difficulty of our performance.”

In addition to the Senior Similar Pairs event, Hunt competes in the Pairs Four category. The event will be held for the first time this season at the Waterloo Invitational in January.

Hunt said the overall level of competition has risen since last season.

“Queen’s has always sort of been a leader as far as presentation and now some other teams are catching up to us.

“We’ve always had that professional look and now other teams are starting to copy us.”

She credits the team’s coaches, as well as the calibre of skaters the team has attracted, with giving the Gaels the edge.

McKnight said that though Queen’s is starting to feel the heat from their opponents, the Gaels are equal to the challenge.

“You take a look at what’s out there, you come back and work, and come out ahead.”

Hunt added that she thinks the team won’t have a problem rising to the occasion. She said the strong bond the team formed early in the season helps keep everyone motivated to work hard.

“I think it’s a mix of doing stuff together as a team as well as personalities just getting along,” she said. “My goal and Rachel, the other co-captain’s goal, is to make everyone feel like a member of the team.”

Hunt said the team will continue to focus on achieving personal bests without worrying about what other teams are doing.

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