Kelowna Skating Club wins big at 2021 BC/YK Sectional Championships

Local skaters win big

Sarita Patel

Three local figure skaters have won gold at this year's provincials in December.

The 2021 B.C. and Yukon Sectional Championships were held at in Burnaby, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, skaters outside the Lower Mainland were required to submit verified videos of their live performances to be judged virtually. It's safe to say, things were a little different than usual.

“I just pretended it was a normal practice because in normal competitions I get a little bit nervous but this one was a little bit easier knowing that I am just looking at a camera instead of the judges,” says Kelowna's Christiana Lock, 11, the winner of the Juvenile Women U11 category.

Emily Sales, the 15-year-old winner of the Novice Women’s category, says it felt like a normal day of training, but the nerves were still there as she knew they were still competing.

“It didn’t feel the same as a competition because I didn’t have the fans and everything, so I wasn’t as nervous but I still basically did the same thing as I usually do,” says Gabrielle Jugnauth, 13, winner of the pre-novice women’s category.

This was Emily’s second gold at provincials while Gabrielle and Christiana secured the first win of their young careers.

“It was definitely weird watching myself compete,” says Sales on being judged virtually. “It was a lot different but it was a cool experience.”

Sales won both segments, scoring a personal best of 121.84 points, winning the event Artistic Award. The Okanagan Mission Secondary student finished over 10 points higher than the rest of the field in a dominating performance.

“I was really nervous to see everyone else’s scores and my scores … I didn’t like it as much,” adds Jugnauth.

The event saw an extremely competitive Pre-Novice Women’s event, which had 52 entries. Jugnauth landed four triple jumps, winning both segments (short and free programs) and the title with 98.85 points.

“It was like going back in time watching myself … it was also a bit nerve-wracking waiting for everybody else to finish competing and waiting for your program to finish so you can hear your scores,” says Lock, who was competing for the first time.

Lock had a personal best performance and a score of 29.31 points to capture the Juvenile Women U11 crown and event Artistic Award.

“Overall, we are very pleased with how our skaters performed, especially given the circumstances,” noted Kelowna Director Jason Mongrain.

“It has been very challenging with scheduling and training adjustments that have been happening for months now, but we are extremely fortunate to be a sport that can compete virtually and can train while maintaining physical distancing.”

Sales danced to a mash-up of Dolly Parton songs. Her mom and Grandmother say they really enjoyed the piece.

Jugnauth performed to I Feel Pretty for the last time, as her coach will be switching up the performance next season.

Lock skated to Somewhere Only We Know, but she sang and recorded the song for the competition, something she says hyped her up.

“I’ve always wanted to try doing it like that, but I didn’t expect it to be this early on in my life,” laughs Lock.

The girls say they missed the atmosphere of fans cheering the most, but say they were lucky to perform this year. So, what do they love most about skating?

“The performing and the jumping,” says Sales who’s been skating for 14 years and can successfully do a triple lutz.

“The competition part, the nerves and definitely the winning — the work pays off once you win,” adds Jugnauth, who can also complete a triple lutz and has been skating since she was two-years-old.

Lock, the youngest of the three, has skated for nine years and can land a double lutz. She says she loves competing because of "the adrenaline and the rush after you have such a great program.”

The girls were meant to head to Nationals in March but the event has since been cancelled due to the pandemic. But they’re still training two-times a day, six-days-a-week to remain competition ready.

Once the medals arrive in the mail they will be taking photos and trying to replicate a medal ceremony on their own.

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