Brandon’s Madison McCallum practises Monday at the Kinsmen Arena. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
Brandon’s Tori Thiessen warms up Monday night at the Kinsmen Arena. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
After dominating the province, Skate Brandon members will get a chance to see how they match up against the best young figure skaters in the country this week.
Seven young competitors who train with Skate Brandon are off to Regina today to take part in the annual Skate Canada Challenge, with spots in the Canadian Figure Skating Championships on the line.
Skate Brandon head coach Tammy McKay watched a whopping seven of her skaters earn medals at last month’s provincial championships in Stonewall in one of the most impressive performances in the history of the local club. She is anxious to see what they can do against other provinces as 500 skaters from across the country compete this week.
"It’s very exciting ... but it just shows the year-round commitment that these girls are making to their sport and the results are proving the efforts that we’ve all put in," McKay said.
"Last year I had six (qualify for the Challenge), which I was pretty elated with. But with that said, this was our goal and this is what we have been training so hard in order to do and it was nice just to see that everyone went out and did what they were capable of at (Manitoba) Sectionals and I am hoping to see the same at Challenge."
Leading the way for Skate Brandon will be Manitoba junior women’s singles champion Madison McCallum, 17, who won her seventh straight provincial title last month. Also taking to the ice will be fellow Brandonites Tori Thiessen, 14, Kirsten Gutenberg, 15, and Taylor McMurdo, 15, who finished 1-2-3 in novice girls at provincials, while Hartney’s Casey Bertholet, 12, Skate Brandon member Devon Borody — a Portage native who travels to the Wheat City to train each week — and Brandon’s Courtney Morken, 13, finished first, second and fourth, respectively, in pre-novice girls.
McKay is hoping to have a couple of her junior or novice skaters qualify for nationals, slated for Jan. 9-15 in Ottawa.
"For the pre-novices, this is their Canadian championships, whereas the novices and juniors, they have to qualify in order to go on to Canadians, so I am hoping (some will qualify)," said McKay, who is looking to
17-year-old McCallum to lead the way for her Skate Brandon contingent.
"Madison has acquired new elements and if those show up when we need them, she definitely has a chance to be in the top 18 to qualify for nationals," McKay said.
"For Kirsten, this is her second year in novice, so she is going in with a little bit of experience. Taylor, this is her first time going to Challenge, Casey’s first time and Courtney’s first time going to Challenge. But what is great for them is they’ve got the other Skate Brandon members there to support them and guide them through this experience, too."
Morden’s Brooklyn Parker, who is coached by McKay and used to train regularly in Brandon, will also take part in the Challenge. Meanwhile, Virden pairs skaters Paige Lawrence, 23, and Rudi Swiegers, 25, will compete in the senior category.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 3, 2013