Skating comraderie in Bay Roberts

Nicholas Mercer
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The ice at the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts is full of activity on Jan. 18.

About a dozen skaters with the Conception Bay North Skating Club are working through parts of their routines.

Most of the talented group is working on the intricacies of jumps. Some are in the far end, while others are along the far boards.

However, there are two groups that are sure to catch the eyes of onlookers. At either end of the ice, the dance teams of Brianna Russell and Andrew Littlejohn, as well as the team of Julia Keefe and Ethan Parsons are learning parts of their new free skate.

It involves tireless repetition and dedication to perfect.

Having just over a minute of their routines figured out, the teams work through what they have in an effort to make it second nature.

Starting their music, both groups run through what they have under the watchful eyes of coaches Lori Brett and Neil Thorne. When it the music stops, their coaches give them pointers and then the music is started again.

“It’s going pretty good,” said 10-year-old Julia.

Nothing new is without challenges, and these four young skaters are in the midst of adjusting to the new elements required of the free skate.

Whether it’s getting used to swizzles, or using a lift, there have been some adjustments that needed to be made. Any little deviation from the routine can set the rest of the group’s timing off.

“I’ve probably found the lift the most challenging,” said Ethan,12.

Despite these momentary set backs, looking at both teams skate you can see them making the needed adjustments in their heads and every skate is better than the one before.

“We’re building up to it,” said 12-year-old Andrew.

They are learning the free skate with hopes of premiering it at the provincial competition being held in Corner Brook Feb. 21-23, possibly in an exhibition format. Then skate the program again at Skate Atlantica in Halifax, NS March 28-30.


Friendly competition

Look at any dance results from skating competitions this year and you’ll discover a trend.

The two teams are usually the only ones listed.

Whether it was the Rebecca Pack Friendship Skate in Gander or the Skate NL Sectionals, the two teams are competing against each other.

However that’s not a word the four talented skaters use.

“It’s pretty fun,” said 10-year-old Brianna.


Helping each other out

There are times the four skaters will offer tidbits of information that comes with competing in the dance competition.

The two teams have been dancing together for three years.

“We started at the same time,” said Andrew.

“It’s been interesting,” added Brianna with a laugh.

The four acclimated themselves quickly to the new situation, and have excelled in a short period.

One thing has been a constant in this three-year adventure. The two teams help each other out.

“We want the best for each other,” said Ethan.

There is no animosity between them.

Sure, all want to have a good showing and finish as high as they can, but the skaters are there to support each other every step of the way.

“It’s cool where we’re from the same club and it’s only us there,” said Julia.

The four will be in action this weekend at the Eastern Divisionals being held at the Bay Arena on Jan. 25-26.

Organizations: Conception Bay North Skating Club

Geographic location: Bay Roberts, Corner Brook, Halifax Gander

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