GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – Local figure skaters proved just how strong the competition in central is by sweeping the awards at Western Divisionals, held in Port Aux Basques earlier this month.
The Sparkling Blades of Grand Falls-Windsor won the club award for most points, while their skater, Hailey Budgell, won the Andy Joy Cup for most artistic performance.
The Seaport Skaters out of Botwood won the Club Award for most improved and their athlete, Riley Jarrett, won the Joan Targett Award for most outstanding performance.
Twenty-seven skaters represented the Grand Falls-Windsor club, and 25 of those skaters qualified for the provincial figure skating championships, taking place in Mount Pearl, Feb. 16-18.
“It was a nice drive home, I must say,” said a beaming Sparkling Blades’ coach, Jo-Anne Dormody. “We worked really hard to prepare our skaters, and it felt good to know that we did our job, they did theirs, and everything worked out.”
The Seaport Skaters had nine athletes compete at divisionals, and eight of those qualified for provincials.
Coach Kara Watkins was ecstatic with her club’s performance and said winning the most improved club award means a lot to everyone associated with the group.
“It’s wonderful because we’re a small but busy club,” she said. “We’re doing well and proving we can keep up, even though we have a smaller club.”
And in Port Aux Basque, it was a Seaport Skater that took home a huge individual award.
Jerrett has amassed quite the collection of awards over the years but admits this one takes the cake.
“A lot of my other award almost came by default…but with this award, I feel like I earned this one,” he said from his home rink on Sunday evening.
The young skater competed in dance the past six years but decided this year to compete in the singles competition.
With this award to add to his already impressive resume, it’s a move that seems to be paying off.
“I’ve always liked jumping in general, just skating around and trying the jumps I could do, and practicing them,” said Jerrett, when asked why he made the switch to singles. “I like listening to music on the ice and interpreting that in my head.”
Twelve-year-old Budgell said winning the Andy Joy Cup wasn’t something she thought about before heading to divisionals. She always felt like the artistic side of skating was something she had to work on, so to win this award proves her hard work and dedication is paying off.
“Every night I would go home and look in the mirror and practice my personality,” said Budgell. “We also did simulations on the ice, where each of us would practice our programs, and Joanne would have these faces on the glass and we had to do our routine thinking those were the judges. All of that helped, I think.”
Both coaches and skaters couldn’t be happier for the success of the other, and the awards they collected at divisionals.
They’ve been competing at many of the same events for a long time and know each other well.
“Their coaches are doing an amazing job with their skaters, and I’ve seen huge improvements over the years,” said Dormody. “What the coaches are doing in Botwood is really working. I’m very proud of the Botwood club and their skaters, and it proves what they are doing is working.”
“They’re an overall amazing club,” said Watkins of the Sparkling Blades. “They have quality skaters and quality coaching, and they’re doing a lot of things right. They stand out as being a great club in every competition they go to and stand up well against the bigger clubs. I know both their coaches and skaters are extremely dedicated, and it’s definitely showing.”
Megan Walsh, Erin Billard, Kallie Stone, Kaitlyn Snow, Julianne Howse, Isabella Watts, Carissa Stacey, Brooklyn Saunders, Hannah Sheehan, Jasmin Tubrett, Emily Saunders, Hailey Budgell, Sarah Murray, Jenna Manuel, Jamie Powell, Meredith Gale, Chelsey Kirby, Karlee Edison, Lauren Rowe, Beth Young, Emily Hayden and Janelle Caravan will represent the Sparkling Blades at provincials.
Jerrett, Lauren Rice, Jillian Rice, Brooklyn Watkins, Alyssa Cole, Chloe Hibbs, Mya Hibbs and Brooklyn Lee qualified for the Seaport Skaters.
For complete divisional results, visit Skate NL’s website.
In related figure skating news, Botwood will host the 2018 STAR Provincial Competition, Feb. 10-11.