Silver success for figure skating

Queen’s finishes second overall at OUA championships in Toronto

The figure skating team practices at the Memorial Centre Feb. 17 in preparation for last weekend’s OUA championships.
The figure skating team practices at the Memorial Centre Feb. 17 in preparation for last weekend’s OUA championships.
Supplied Photo by Michael Parkinson

Queen’s figure skating team concluded their season with a second-place finish at the OUA championships last week at the University of Toronto. The silver medal finish was an improvement for the Tricolour, who won bronze at last year’s OUA championship in Guelph.

The Gaels finished with 87 points, second only to the Guelph Gryphons who had 93 points. The Western Mustangs finished third with 64 points.

The silver medal performance caps off a successful year for the figure skating team, which won Western’s Winter Invitational championship in January and picked up silver at the Queen’s Figure Skating Invitational in November.

Gaels co-captain Kelsey Newhook said that the team set high expectations for itself going into the tournament.

“We were definitely happy with the results,” she said. “Placing in OUAs is amazing, and we were expecting to place. First would have been lovely but second was phenomenal.”

Queen’s received podium finishes in many categories, including gold medals in the Pairs Four from Martha Carruthers, Kaitlin Finerty, Sarah Farrow and Cathryn Schroeder, and Intermediate Similar Pairs from Katie Farrow and Newhook.

Newhook said these championships held extra significance for the Gaels as a large part of the team is graduating after this season.

“Everyone had a great skate,” she said. “This year we had seven graduating skaters so it was a super emotional competition, but we skated really strong and had really strong outcomes for all of our events both days.”

Queen’s entered the final day of competition trailing Guelph by one point, but Guelph won the heavily-weighted synchronized skating event to take the banner.

Newhook said she was pleased with her team’s final skate, despite being unable to take the title.

“At the Western Invitational we won our synchro event, so we went in to it with strong and high expectations,” she said. “We skated it probably the best we’ve skated it all season, but figure skating is a judged event. Whatever comes out of it is not always what you expect, but we skated great. We definitely were expecting to place and do well, and we did that, so it was fantastic.”

While all of the accolades for their performance were appreciated, Newhook said the team’s off-ice bonding efforts made the sport fun for everyone involved.

“Our team is super close,” she said. “It was a tight group of girls and one boy. I think it’s our spirit that defines us and keeps us cohesive as a team. It’s always high regardless of the outcome, which has been great.”

Martha Carruthers, Sarah Farrow, Katie Finerty, Cathryn Schroeder, Emily Young and Janel Young were all named to the OUA all-star team. In addition, head coach Rhonda McKnight was named the OUA coach of the year.

Jena Hall, who alongside Melanie Graveline won bronze in the Junior Silver Similar Dance, praised McKnight for her continued efforts with the team.

“She’s really, really dedicated to this team,” Hall said. “She’s led the team to so many OUA titles. She’s there every morning at practice and she picks girls up from residence who can’t walk because it’s too far. She’s just really always there to back up the team in whatever we need and whatever’s best for the team.”

Looking to the future, Hall said she’s optimistic that Queen’s will continue to hold their rank with the elite in the sport despite losing several key veterans.

“Hopefully we’ll get some good people coming into first year next year who really love the sport and can compete strong,” she said. “If we develop as a team like we did this year, I think next year will still be good even through we are losing some really great people this year.”

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