Canmore’s Jane Gray and Graham Schaufele began their march to Canadian figure skating nationals by leading the local club at the Canmore Fall Invitational, Sunday (Sept. 24) at the Canmore Rec Centre.
Gray, 23, took first place in the senior ladies division, despite a rocky long program.
“The short program went very well. I made one mistake on my first jump, but felt I performed it well. It was well received, too,” Gray said. “My new short program basically doesn’t stop moving. It’s fast and controlled.”
Gray did struggle in her long program, as her jumps were not up to her usual high standard.
“It was not my best skate, but it’s a step in the right direction,” Gray said. “My program jumps weren’t there for me, but I didn’t let it bring the whole program down. Now I can move forward with my training.”
As an anthropology student at the University of Calgary, Gray often dwells on the past to illuminate the future. However, as a skater, she has learned to put poor performances behind her and move on to the next battle.
Off the ice, she spent a month studying howler monkeys in Belize, but on the ice, she changed her routine once again as she aims for a spot on Canada’s national team.
“I decided a change would be good moving into the season. It can get repetitive. I usually keep a program for two years, but this year I wanted to start from scratch.” She is off to Barrie, Ont. for her next competition, then must prepare for sectionals, challenge, and, hopefully, nationals.
“I’d like to continue to improve the short program. There is room for improvement and ideally I’d like to have a clean skate at nationals. That would be amazing. In the long program, I’d like to fight for the long jumps. My goal is to make the national team. I feel like I’m getting closer each year,” Gray said.
Schaufele was the lone competitor in the junior men’s division. He skated well and is currently in Saskatchewan, hunting for more competition.
“Graham always performs well. In the junion men’s division, he has to attempt a triple lutz. He’s doing it in practice, but it’s not yet coming through in competition. He and Jane are aiming to peak at nationals,” said coach Kendra Domenico.
Calgary skater Nicole Joe, who trains in Canmore, impressed the judges with a second place performance in the short program, and a fourth place overall result.
“She skated really great and added a new triple jump to her long program. She landed two triples in her long program, doubled some triples in the middle. She looked fit and attacked the program,” Domenico said.
Savina Somas finished fourth in the pre-novice women’s category. Somas has just gone through a growth spurt which has affected her jumps, but Domenico said she is progressing.
“She pulled through and her skate was quite strong. The coaches were pleased with her drive and determination,” Domenico said.
Cassidy Domenico upped her game and received bonus marks for her spins and steps in the juvenile women’s U14 division, where she finished ninth. Paige Domenico took first place in the pre-juvenile U11 division, where she posted a personal best score. The young skater came back from injury to post her top score.