Two years of hard work has culminated in a berth at the Alberta Winter Games in Medicine Hat for a team of young Lethbridge figure skaters.
Five skaters made the cut at a competition in Calgary in November to make it to the Games in Medicine Hat, Feb. 13-16, where they will be competing a variety of skating categories.
“We’re really proud of all of these girls. Last time we had three. This year we have five,” enthused Lethbridge Skating Club administrator and Skate Canada coach Trish York-Gillett, who has also had the pleasure of personally coaching some of the girls.
Darcie Rae Harper, 17 (Senior Bronze Ladies); Emma Gross, 14 (Juvenile Ladies); Brooklyn Watmough, 12 (Senior Bronze Ladies); Kelsey Flint, 17 (alternate) STARS; Alexis DeMaere, 13 (Senior Bronze Ladies) plus Senior Bronze Ladies alternate Chloe Wagenaar will all be going to the Games with South Alberta figure skating team coach Olea Taboulchanas.
“They all competed in Calgary in November, so based on their performance there, they qualified for the Alberta Winter Games,” she said.
“It’s a great showcase of our talent.”
“And Darcie qualified last time, too,” York-Gillett said, noting a combination of hard work and timing adds up to a shot at the Alberta Winter Games.
“It only happens every two years. So they were all the right age, 11-17. They are all really appreciative of the opportunity to represent the club,” she continued, adding they work all year long on their routines for their different categories.
“They are competing with the best of the best in all of Alberta. It’s exciting they are able to go to the games right here in Southern Alberta. They get to achieve their goals,” said York-Gillett, noting this is the highest level they will compete at this year so they don’t get to move on to another level after these Games.
“It’s really exciting. Hopefully they will have their best performances,” she said.
Harper fondly remembered competing at the Alberta Winter Games two years ago, but couldn’t choose a favourite part of it.
“It was all good,” Harper said.
“It was all really good fun,” she continued, adding she is a little nervous about competing again. But she is most looking forward to bonding with her teammates and meeting new people.
“Probably just meeting with new people and the team,” Harper continued, adding she is also excited to check out some of the other sports at the Games, which some of her team mates shared.
“It’s just going to be cool to travel as a team,” said DeMaere. “And I’m excited to see all of the other events. Especially volleyball, because I play volleyball.”
“I’m excited to see the other sports and to interact with the other athletes,” added Gross.
“What everyone else said,” chuckled Flint.
The Alberta Winter Games takes place every two years. Participants must qualify in a zone playoff selection. There are eight zones in the province — the Sunny South, Big Country, Calgary, Parkland, Black Gold/Yellowhead, Edmonton, Northeast and Peace Country.
The event draws approximately 2,500 athletes aged 11-17 competing in 22 events including archery, alpine skiing, artistic gymnastics, badminton,biathlon, boxing, cross country skiing, curling, fencing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, female hockey, male hockey, judo, ringette, snowboarding, speed-skating, squash, synchronized swimming, volleyball and wrestling.
More information is available online at http://www.albertagames.com/default.aspx?p=wintergameshome.