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Skaters shine at 2014 Rainbow Country Region competition

By: Randy Pascal – Playback

 | Jan 23, 2014 - 3:17 PM |
While Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are keeping busy with their final preparations for Sochi, the Olympic dreams of hundreds of young skaters were only just starting to build last weekend, as the Garson Arena played host to the 2014 Rainbow Country Region Interclub figure skating competition. File photo.

While Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are keeping busy with their final preparations for Sochi, the Olympic dreams of hundreds of young skaters were only just starting to build last weekend, as the Garson Arena played host to the 2014 Rainbow Country Region Interclub figure skating competition. File photo.

While Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are keeping busy with their final preparations for Sochi, the Olympic dreams of hundreds of young skaters were only just starting to build last weekend, as the Garson Arena played host to the 2014 Rainbow Country Region Interclub figure skating competition.

Representing nine different clubs from across the region, the skaters came in all ages and sizes, with some taking part in a competitive event for the very first time. If seven-year-old Alexa Kneblewski of the host Nickel Centre — Coniston Blades was feeling any kind of nervousness, she certainly wasn't showing it.

She finished her day on Sunday with a gold, two silvers and a bronze, a very impressive debut to the competitive scene.

"I was feeling really happy when I woke up this morning because it was my first time doing competition," said Kneblewski.

The youngest of three children in the family, the Grade 2 student at CR Judd in Capreol has been skating now for three years.

"I wanted to figure skate because my mom did," she said. "She can do jumps and spins."

For 11-year-old Nicole Boyle from Skate Canada — Manitoulin in Little Current, competitions are becoming old hat. Still, there are always plenty of areas where she finds that work must be done to better herself.

"The sit-spin is a lot harder now with the new rule that you have to be parallel with the ice," she said. "Learning it was quite hard, but once you get the hang of it, it's better."

Incorporating a successful flip jump into her routine, Boyle noted she is still trying to master "getting my not-so-good leg higher on my spiral."

In the end, she acknowledges that her strength likely lies perhaps a little more within the pure artistry of figure skating than the natural athleticism.

"I feel more comfortable interpreting my music, because you actually get to listen to the music and you can act out what's happening throughout the music," she said. "I just like doing it that way."

At the end of the weekend, Cassidy Barrett of the Sudbury Skating Club was presented with the Laura Cotesta Memorial Award. Each year, the award is given to a skater whose performance touches the judges in a special way, whether it be for its artistry, or power, or just something that you can't explain.

A handful of the skaters on hand will be back in action on the weekend of Feb. 14-16, taking part in the Festival of Stars in Sault Ste Marie, with others preparing for Island Skate at the end of March in Little Current.

Following is a listing of some of the event winners from the Rainbow Interclub 2014:

Preliminary Free Skate
Group 1 - Kya Weiman (Sudbury)
Group 2 - Karine Piché-Larocque (Nickel Blades)
Group 3 - Alexis Leblond (Copper Cliff)
Group 4 - Emilie Rainville (Sudbury)
Group 5 - Janna Hunt (Valley East)

Senior Bronze Women (Group 1)
1st - Genevieve Bouzane (Sudbury)
2nd - Sarah Zucconi (Copper Cliff)
3rd - Reeghan Wootton (Sudbury)

Senior Bronze Women (Group 2)
1st - Stefanie Bernier (Sudbury)
2nd - Cassidy Barrett (Sudbury)
3rd - Taegan Penney (Copper Cliff)

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