With the season wrapping up, the Moose Jaw Skating Club had a good showing at the biggest provincial meet of the season last weekend.
The club sent over 20 skaters to the Jean Norman competition in Saskatoon and many of them brought home medals and all gained crucial experience.
"Overall we had a good showing and we took home some hardware. It was really successful for the skating club,” said coach Rustie Dean. "For the StarSkaters, they have worked all season since September when we got ice until now."
For the skaters, they are taking the techniques and routine they have worked on all season with their coaches and applying it front of many people.
"It is every skill we could have possibly learned and we've now tried to master it and showcase it for the judges, parents and coaches,” said Dean. “Now it's the off season, it's time to reflect. I think with our skaters, especially at the Jean Norman, since there are a lot of kids that haven't competed before to compete on such a big scale is so nerve raking, but also rewarding."
Each year, the Jean Norman competition is held in a different location in the province and brings hundreds of skaters of all skill level to show off their turns, jumps, twists and routines.
"With Jean Norman being in Saskatoon this year, there were teams from far north like Hudson Bay to as south as Mossbank. There was a lot of skaters and every category was jammed packed. It was nice to see everyone do well at the competition because they've practiced all season to have a good showing,” said Dean. "This is one of the biggest competitions and north doesn't always get a chance to take on the south, so this is the provincial of it all."
For many of the skaters, especially the younger ones that are just starting to get into the competitive side of the sport, they wouldn’t have seen many of the other skaters they competed against at this competition because there were so many athletes. Although there would be some nerves involved, it also helped keep the skaters encouraged for next season.
"It is more motivation to see what other skaters are doing across the province. This is an opportunity for them to say that they've worked really hard. To face off against skaters that they've never seen before gives them good motivation, even if they didn't medal,” she explained. “It allows them to see what they need to work on for next season."
Two of the Moose Jaw Skating Club’s members took part in a life-time experience as part of the high performance competitive provincial team.
Paige Hager and Maria Hadley-Cole were selected to be part of the Saskatchewan team earlier this season and as part of the team, they practice and perform with them throughout the year.
"It takes a lot of hours, time and a lot of years to make that calibre of a team,” stated coach Rustie Dean.
Over the last week, Hager, Hadley-Cole and the 30-member team took part in a travelling road trip performance show throughout the province.
"They performed in front of a crowd of 1,200 people in Saskatoon at the Credit Union Centre,” said Dean. "They just finished a performance in Weyburn on Wednesday night and the whole town came out to see the best skaters from across the province. It was a really neat production. They only have a few short hours to prepare the number. It was remarkable."
This road trip is something that is held every year with the high performance team, but this was a first for the local skaters. Although they were performing with people they would normally be competing against, it was easy to make the transition from competitor to teammate.
"All of us get along pretty good. When we are in competition, I want to do well for myself, but for this, we all know each other and want to have fun,” said Hadley-Cole.
Hager added: "It was really fun because we got to meet more people and see people we don't get to see that often."