Five members of the Connaught Skating Club are heading to next week's Skate Canada Challenge in Regina and leaving behind plenty of hardware.
The Richmond-based organization is coming off an exceptional showing at the recent B.C./Yukon Sectional Championships in Parksville where enough podium finishes earned Connaught the Club Champion aggregate award for the first time since 2003. The trophy is presented to the club that accumulates the most points based on results throughout the competition.
The outcome came down to the final event with Larkyn Austman capturing the Junior Women's competition to lift Connaught past the North Shore Winter Club. Coquitlam and Burnaby were tied for third.
The Champions award was pleasant surprise for Connaught's coaching staff but not the results as the club's competitive program continues to build impressive depth from top to bottom.
"We did as well as we hoped we would," said Keegan Murphy, Connaught's Director of Programs. "As coaches, we sat down before the Sectionals and mapped out the expectations for each of our skaters. We are very happy with the overall results.
"It's wonderful to come away with so many medals but what is even more encouraging was seeing how well our up-and-coming skaters performed and the bright future they have."
Other gold medalists at Sectionals included Mitchell Gordon (Senior Men's) Shawn Cuveras (Junior Men) and Danielle Gordon (Pre-Novice Women). They will be joined by fourth place Novice Men's finisher Kurtis Schreiber on Team B.C. that features 58 skaters going to the four-day Skate Canada Challenge that starts Dec. 5.
Except for the Pre-Novice level, the competition serves as a qualification for Nationals to be held early in the new year. "We are expecting all four of are skaters to qualify for Nationals," said Murphy.
Mitchell Gordon continues to make progress in his first year competing at the senior men's level.
The 16-year-old reigning Junior Men's national champion represented Canada this fall at Junior Grand Prix events in Austria and Croatia. He took the experience with him to Sectionals where he put together a solid free program that scored 135.25 to surge past North Shore's Jeremy Ten for the gold medal."
"That was better than what we hoped so we were very pleased," said Murphy of the first place performance. "Everything is about Mitchell peaking for Nationals so that was a bonus. The hope is to do well enough there to get an invite (to represent Canada) to Junior Worlds."
Elvie Carroll won't be going to Regina but did manage a first place finish in the Sectionals' Juvenile U14 Group One event.
Rachel De Mello was third in the same category, while Danica Vangsgaard was third in the Juvenile Women U14 Group Two.
Other Connaught results at Sectionals included:
Pre-Novice Women - Jessica Yuen (20th), Claudia Makhanko-Tang (21st), Amanda Feltham (22nd), Bianca Duca (23rd). Novice Women - Emma Carr (10th), Eurwen Szeto (11th) and Sarah Folkestad (12th).