Skaters from the Oak Bay Figure Skating Club journeyed to Parksville last weekend for the BC/YT Sectional Figure Skating Championships and came away with some stellar results, according to club coach Jamie McGrigor.
Two of his skaters, MacKenzie Wavryk, 14, and Amanda Wright, 15, managed to crack the top 10 by finishing ninth and tenth in the field of 54 skaters in the pre-novice ladies division.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” said McGrigor. “The field is so strong in B.C. that these two could easily have won the whole thing in other provinces. The strength of the field is a problem, but I suppose it’s a nice problem to have. There are just some great skaters. … it’s a real dog-fight out there every time they skate.”
McGrigor has been coaching in Oak Bay for nine seasons and said that the level of competition in B.C. has never been stronger. “The kids really have to be committed, and these young ladies certainly are,” he said.
McGrigor’s skaters are on the ice for an average of two hours a day, as well as participating in additional daily off-ice classes. It’s the level of commitment that’s required for a skater in British Columbia to have a chance of competing against what’s probably the strongest groups of skaters in the country, he said.
“This morning both Amanda and MacKenzie were out on the ice at 7 a.m., despite the fact that I’d given them the day off. But they showed up, trying to pound out some triple jumps so they can add to their score the next time out.”
The most successful of the club’s skaters last week was the youngest. Alisa Lyesina, 11, scored 28.81 to capture second place in her division even though she needed to skate in the Juvenile Ladies category, one level higher than where she would ordinarily compete. “She got credit for a double axel, which is very unusual at this level and for her age,” said McGrigor. “She’s going to be skating in Nanaimo next week where she’ll try to rack up even more points.”
When the season’s points are tallied, each skater’s best three performances are used to determine who will be awarded the provincial championship. “She has a real shot,” said McGrigor. “Everytime she steps on the ice, her score gets higher. But it’s very intense. In the short program all you have to do is make one mistake and you can drop from first place to 50th.”
More information on the Oak Bay Figure Skating Club can be found at oakbayfsc.ca.