By Lisa Skubovius
Thirty-five figure skaters from the Elk Valley rode the inner edge to multiple victories in Kimberley.
The East Kootenay Invitational competition brought together close to 150 skaters from B.C. and Alberta, and the valley’s three skating clubs took home 14 medals in eight different events.
The skating competition kicked off on Saturday, November 30, with Rylee Whitson of the Fernie Skating Club starting the winning streak with a third-place finish in the Star 5 category. The next medals came in the Pre-Introductory Interpretive event when Alexandra Harrington of the Sparwood Skating Club claimed a silver and Paige Polacik from Fernie earned the bronze.
Sara Lewis, also from Fernie, won the first gold medal for the valley in the Introductory Interpretive category to conclude Saturday’s events on a high note. When the competition continued on Sunday, the podium’s top spot was occupied by valley skaters four more times.
Emma Morgan of Fernie earned a gold medal in the Pre-Juvenile event, with club-mate Ava Hozjan claiming silver. Then in the Senior Bronze Freeskate event, Fernie Skating Club representatives swept the podium with Samantha Bleich first, Sara Lewis second, and Hunter Bezak third.
In the Junior Silver Freeskate event, Fernie’s Emma Nieuwesteeg took gold with Kaitlyn Poirier earning the silver medal. The top spot in the top category, Gold Freeskate, was won by Fernie’s Jodi Stemberger, while club-mate Brady Whitson placed second.
The treasure trove of medals was completed with Samantha Bleich earning a bronze in the Bronze Interpretive event. Many of the participating skaters were performing for an assessment rather than a ranking, earning many silver and bronze ribbons for their efforts.