Friday, July 29, 2011

A special weekend for talented summer skaters

More than 200 compete and entertain at SV resort

Wood River Middle School student Kenny Pratt won the Most Outstanding Showcase Trophy at the Basic Skills-Pre-Juvenile levels. Courtesy photo

The 44th annual Sun Valley Summer Figure Skating Championships drew around 185 competitive skaters to the Sun Valley resort from July 21-24.

With 52 skaters also here for the U.S. National Collegiate Championships, the local athlete presence—not to mention the glam factor—increased significantly, according to Summer Championships Competition Chair Andrea Nelson.

Hosted annually by the Sun Valley Figure Skating Club, the Summer Championships are one of the most popular and well-attended nonqualifying competitions in the Pacific Northwest region.

This year's competition attracted 41 skating clubs from across the U.S. and from Hong Kong, along with 73 coaches, 21 U.S. Figure Skating officials and 50 volunteers.

"Showcase Sunday" drew a crowd of locals and visitors to witness the competition's popular tradition of following three days of serious free skate and artistic events with a grand finale of entertaining, theater-on-ice-style events.

SVFSC skaters captured three of four "Outstanding Program" trophies plus 19 gold medals, 13 silver and seven bronze, and four medals for fourth place.

Community School freshman Alexandra Harten, 14, won the Most Outstanding Showcase Trophy at the Juvenile-Senior level. Harten was ranked first of 11 Novice/Junior Ladies in Showcase. Her coach is Holly Wheeler.

Harten's program tied three-time Outstanding Showcase Trophy winner Charlie Schneider of the Denver FSC. Schneider won the Intermediate Men's Showcase event.

Wood River Middle School student Kenny Pratt won the Most Outstanding Showcase Trophy at the Basic Skills-Pre-Juvenile levels. Pratt's program was chosen from a field of 46 Basic Skills-Nontest skaters. Pratt is coached by Gia Guddat and Darlin Baker.

Joyce Chan, 14, a Community School freshman, won the trophy for the Most Outstanding Artistic Program at the Nontest-Intermediate levels. Her coach is Figure Skating Hall of Famer Sonya Dunfield.

Chan finished second in an Intermediate Ladies Artistic competitive group of five skaters, and her program was selected from a field of 45. Chan won the Intermediate Ladies second-place Combined Free Skate Award, finished second in her Free Skate and third in her Short Program.

Junior Regional Champion Shayna Moellenberg competed at the Senior Ladies Level. She won both her Free Skate and Short program and captured the Senior Ladies Champion Combined Free Skate Award. Her primary coach is former Olympian Lisa-Marie Allen.

Gia Guddat choreographed all of this year's special award-winning programs.

Group Showcase

Sun Valley's popular group showcase showdown closed the competition Sunday afternoon in front of hundreds of spectators at the outdoor rink.

Three different local productions, as well as teams from Denver, Park City and Salt Lake, pulled out all the stops with over-the-top choreography, costumes and professional-quality music.

The Sun Valley Skate School's "Pirates of Redfish Lake" production swept for first place in the Large Group Showcase Event. It featured a huge cast of 29 skaters age 7 to 18 from the SVFSC, Hong Kong SU, and Desert Ice of Arizona.

Choreographed and produced by SVFSC coaches Guddat and Craig Heath, the humorous variation on "Pirates of the Caribbean" featured excellent skating and impressive costumes and props, many of which were made, enhanced or conceptualized by the skaters themselves.

Capturing second place in the Large Group event, the Sun Valley Starz team treated the crowd to a fast-paced, colorful and captivating rendition of the hit musical "Chicago."

Taking third in the Small Group event, five adorable young "Sun Valley Lion Cubz" charmed the socks off the audience by prowling the ice in shiny golden lion costumes.

The Starz and Cubz numbers were produced and choreographed by veteran Sun Valley Ice Show soloist and local coach Darlin Baker.

Summary of medalists

Listed in order of highest to lowest competitive free skate level, the following skaters won gold in individual or pairs:

Senior Ladies—Shayna Moellenberg, two golds.

Novice Ladies—Alex Harten, two golds, and Nicole Pratt, one.

Intermediate Ladies—Joyce Chan, two golds.

Pre-Juvenile—Isabella Bourret and Travis Flynt, one gold each.

Pre Preliminary—Alex Stuessi, two golds, Katie Peters and Blake Letourneau, one gold apiece.

Nontest—Kenny Pratt and Noelle Weaver, one gold each.

Basic Skills Free Skate 4—Christine DuFur and Karsyn Gerringa, one gold each.

Basic Skills Basic 6, Saba Grossman, one gold.

Large Group Showcase gold medalists were Sun Valley Skate School's Daniel Leeds, Shayna Moellenberg and Alex Harten (lead pirate love triangle), Julianna Lamb, Tiffany Lau, Joyce Chan, Rachael Trail, Louvinia Wong, Eunice Wong, Esa Lau (mermaids), Christine Forni, Sarah Swinford, Jenny Marziano, Delany Rah, Megan Desey, Lane Letourneau (older pirates), Scarlet Economou, Shea Mayfield, Carolyn Brooker, Blake Letourneau, Emma Stuessi, Alex Stuessi, Antonia Avery, Isabella Bourret, Noelle Weaver, Emma Dorinson, Ramona Chin, Cherry Lee and Samantha Li (younger pirates).

Large Group Showcase silver medalists were Sun Valley Starz' Nicole Pratt, Caitlin Sholtis and Kenny Pratt (featured leads), Katie Peters, Tara Ware, Claire Stickney, Sheldon Gentling, Aurora Wilkinson, Tatum Fuller, Sage Curtis, Sylvia Cogen, Karsyn Gerringa, Grace Cleveland and Christine Dufur (chorus line).

Taking the bronze in Small Group Showcase, the Sun Valley Lion Cubz featured Murphy Kendall, Jacqueline Cronin, Jessica Blackburn, Saba Grossman and Noelle LaFleur.

Complete results for the 30 SVFSC skaters last weekend can be found on today's Express website.

Final collegiate results

The SVFSC also hosted 52 skaters in the 2011 U.S. National Collegiate Figure Skating Championships from July 21-24.

Cash scholarships were awarded to the first- through third-place winners in Senior Ladies, and to the first-place winner of Senior Men's event.

Julianna Lamb, who will attend Georgetown University, represented the SVFSC.

The Senior Men's Champion was Grant Hochstein of Wayne State University. Hochstein defended his 2010 title and won a $5,000 scholarship. Here are the final official results:

Senior Ladies: 1—Alicia Hsu, Belmont University ($5,000 scholarship). 2—Roxanna Schmidt, Miami University of Ohio ($2,500). 3—Karen Zhou, University of California at Irvine ($1,000). 4—Kristina Struthwolf, University of Utah.

Junior Men: 1—Austin Stephen, Miami of Ohio. 2—Adam Civello, Scottsdale Community College. 3—Jason Pacini, Arizona State.

Junior Ladies: 1—Kirsten Seagers, Dartmouth College. 2—Caroline Knoop, Dartmouth. 3—Katie Soraghan, Robert Morris University. 4—Connie Przeslawski, Penn State.

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