Oak Bay skater leaps onto national stage

Teen aims for top-five placing at next month's Western Canadian Challenge in Montreal

Oak Bay figure skater Alisa Lyesina

Alisa Lyesina’s first foray to Montreal will be marked with hard work and seconds spent in the air.

The Oak Bay figure skater finished fourth in the province to earn a berth in the Western Canadian Challenge next month.

She was one of five Oak Bay skaters who competed at the B.C. and Yukon Sectional Championships in Prince George. Lyesina picked up the fourth spot for pre-novice ladies and became a Super Series bronze medalist.  Lyesina competed alongside her pre-novice peers Cassidy Steen and Kiara Jankowski. Mackenzie Wavryk competed in novice and Amanda Wright as a junior.

“Amanda qualified last year and she’s the first in eight years,” said Jamie McGrigor, director of skating for the Oak Bay Figure Skating Club. “It’s quite an accomplishment for [Lyesina] to get through.”

The team of five girls all skated well, the coach said.

“They all did something exceptional. They all did something where the crowd went wild and people talked about. I was really pleased with the way they skated,” McGrigor said. “[We’re] a small Island club and for those kids to do as well as they do is a testament to their hard work.”

Lyesina started skating around the age of seven. It was just one of those things her parents tried out.

“I really like it,” she said, adding the jumps are particularly thrilling. Jumping is something she’s good at, and it comes through particularly in her short program.

“I feel like I can have fun in my short, my long is just serious,” she said.

Over the last year the Landsdown student says she’s concentrated on not over thinking and just doing her best.

“A year ago [Lyesina] decided she was going to make it come hell or high water and she did,” said McGrigor. “She’s done well all season. She was consistently at the top all year, that always helps with confidence.”

She’s shown commitment by skating five days a week, including three times on Wednesdays. The 13-year-old plans to continue skating, competing and focusing as she enters Oak Bay High next year.

“It would be nice to make it to the Olympics or just compete on the world level,” she said.

Lyesina heads to the Western Canadian Challenge Dec. 5 to 7.

“I’m really excited to be competing in Montreal. It’s going to be really cool competing at the national level. I’m a bit nervous, but mostly excited,” she said. “If I skate my best I’m hoping for top five.”

cvanreeuwyk@oak

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