Months of hard work culminates with the biggest event of the competitive season for about 30 Connaught Skating members this weekend in Kelowna.
The Richmond club will be well-represented at the B.C./Yukon Sectional Championships.
For the younger skaters, the stage doesn’t get any greater as they put their progress in front of judges. For others, there is hope this is a springboard for an opportunity to represent B.C. at national events, starting with the Skate Canada Challenge, Nov. 30-Dec. 4 in Montreal.
Samantha Yeung will be competing in a third different level in as many years at Sectionals. The McKinney Elementary student was third in Pre-Juvenile in 2014 and earned silver in the 12 and Under Juvenile category a year ago. Now, she will be skating in Pre-Novice for the first time and has a chance to go to Montreal.
“I love jumping and performing,” smiled Yeung. “My goals are having clean jumps and skating with fast speeds. I’m also getting used to skating two programs now.”
Nine-year-old David Li will be making his Sectionals debut in the Juvenile Men’s category.
His competitive career is already off to a promising start and he knows exactly what he has to do in Kelowna. He is a product of Connaught’s Junior Academy program.
“I enjoy the freedom of skating and performing in front of judges,” said the Whiteside Elementary student. “I always make sure I smile at them too.”
The Connaught skaters got a taste of what they are in for by competing at an event in Kamloops last month. The grunt work for all the athletes came over the summer with plenty of fine tuning since September.
“The summer is different because the kids don’t have school and it can be so intensive,” explained Murphy. “It’s such a productive time of year for us where September and October it’s more about balance as the focus is on their education and sport. The kids choose to be that dedicated to both and I admire them for that.”
Murphy didn’t want to make any bold predications on a medal count in Kelowna even though the club enjoyed an impressive haul a year ago. Instead the focus will be on continued development.
“A kid like David is super talented who loves skating a lot. It’s time to throw him into his first provincial championship and see how he does. I think he will be great,” added Murphy.
“Samantha’s progress has been amazing. But now she is competing against 50 girls and it’s a total different world. Success is relative development and you have to keep your goals in perspective.” It’s a journey all the way.