Figure Skating spins to second place

Gaels head to provincial championship as three-time defending champions

The figure skating team competes together in Waterloo.
The figure skating team competes together in Waterloo.

After a second place finish at the Waterloo Invitational last weekend, the Queen’s figure skating team is preparing to defend their crown at the University of Toronto in just less than a month. The Gaels will return to Toronto as three-time defending provincial champions.

Queen’s performance at the Waterloo Invitational was a notable improvement from their finish at the Queen’s Invitational in November.

“It had a really good effect for us; we fed off each others’ support all weekend long,” co-captain Rachel Coens said.

At Waterloo, Queen’s took home three gold, four silver and two bronze medals. The Gaels were only 13 points behind the eventual winners from Brock.

“We still have areas of improvement in our program, and we haven’t peaked yet,” Coens said. “We’re aiming to peak at [provincials].”

Coens was a member of the gold medal-winning senior similar pairs event with co-captain Katie Hunt.

“We had a very good skate, but it wasn’t a personal best for us,” Coens said. “But we still went out there and performed to the level that we train at. We skated a very clean and consistent program.”

Other gold medal-winning performances were turned in by Nadia Charania in the junior silver free skate, and Laura Keating and Jamie Stuckless in the senior similar dance.

Keating and Stuckless have been competing in the senior similar dance for three years and will head to the Ontario finals as the defending champions in this event.

“It was one of the most fun skates that we had. We’re comfortable on the ice together,” Stuckless said. “We’ve skated for three years together and [Toronto will be] our last, so we just want to have fun and leave everything out on the ice and not hold back.”

Coens had high praise for both of them.

“[Keating] competes in quite a number of events,” Coens said. “She has just been extremely consistent for us and a real asset to the team in terms of her abilities.”

“[Stuckless] is our synchro captain and she’s put together an amazing program for us,” she added. “We wouldn’t be able to do as well as we do without her.”

As synchro captain, Stuckless is responsible for choreographing the program the team performs in the event. Stuckless described the event as “a unique experience.”

In the synchro skate, all 16 skaters on the team are on the ice. Stuckless said that most skaters hadn’t skated in this type of event before coming to university.

“Basically, everyone performs the same number on the ice,” she said. “It’s a really interesting team experience that a lot of skaters don’t get outside of varsity competition.”

Queen’s placed second overall in the event.

Coens and Stuckless both stressed that the team needs to continue to support each other as a team in order to be successful.

“The first away competition of the year is a big bonding experience,” Stuckless said. “This one is a good team event because it’s the first time we get to travel together. The team building helps to lead to the performances that people [have] on the ice.”

Stuckless and Coens were both optimistic about Queen’s chance to repeat at provincials.

“I think we have our work cut out for us, but I think this team can bring it together,” Stuckless said.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.