Photo by Alex D'Addese

Figure skating heads to St. Catharines for OUAs

By Ontario University Athletics (OUA)
BURLINGTON, Ont. – The Gale Centre in Niagara Falls, Ont. will play host to this year's Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Figure Skating Championship, hosted by the Brock Badgers from Feb. 14-15.

General admission tickets can be purchased at the door for $5.00, while children, youth and Brock students get in free.

The University of Toronto Varsity Blues captured their first provincial title in 25 years a season ago on home ice and will make the trip to Niagara Falls looking to repeat as OUA champs for the first time in program history.

Following a strong regular season, the defending champion Blues enter competition on Tuesday as the team to beat as they look to hoist the OQWCIA Trophy for the fifth time in program history.

Earlier this year, the Blues won the 2017 OUA Winter Invitational thanks to gold by Kaitlyn Liu (Toronton, Ont.) and Riley Allison (Toronto, Ont.) in the Intermediate Similar Pair event, while Christina Liao (Dundas, Ont.) finished first in the Freeskate. Toronto had several more podium finishes in the event, including an individual silver by Chyna Hui (Toronto, Ont.) in the Senior Solo event.

Toronto also struck gold at the Queen's Invitational back in November thanks again in part to the gold medal winning performance of the hometown pair of Allison and Liu in the Intermediate Similar Pair event.

Runners up a year ago, the Western Mustangs will head into the OUA championship with their sights set on reclaiming the top step of the podium on Wednesday evening. The Mustangs, who finished tied with McMaster for second place, edged the Marauders for the silver medal based on more event wins.

Western will look to last year's Jr. Silver Similar Dance gold medal winning pair of Nicole Lawson (Toronto, Ont.) and Emily Bird (Toronto, Ont.) to have another strong showing at this year's OUA championship.

Michelle Kitsis (Toronto), who won gold last year as a rookie in the Int. Similar Pairs event also returns for the Mustangs. However, she'll be dancing with a new partner following the graduation of Carmen Wong.

As a team, Western also won bronze last year in the Team Synchro event.

The defending bronze medalists, the McMaster Marauders, will head down the QEW looking for a place on the podium once again this week.

McMaster heads into the OUA championship coming off a fifth place finish at the OUA Winter Invitational where several Marauders medalled in the event.

The duo of Melissa Sieradzki-Jones (Barrie, Ont.) and Savannah Colameco (Barrie, Ont.) grabbed the first medal of the event for the Marauders, claiming gold in the Sr. Similar Dance event. McMaster hopes that another strong showing in the event on Tuesday will help the team's chances of winning just their second provincial title in program history.

Also at the Winter Invitational, the pair joined forces with teammates Bethan Pulla (East York, Ont.) and Christie Condron (Hamilton, Ont.) to capture silver in the Dance Fours.

Antother skater to watch this week for the Marauders is freeskate specialist Riley Allison (North York, Ont.). Allison won silver in the event at the Winter Invitational and also claimed bronze with partner Ryley Goodhand-Fulcher (Alvinston, Ont.) in the Intermediate Similar Pairs event.

Coming off their first synchro medal in team history at the Winter Invitational, the Marauders are another medal hopeful in the event.

The four-time champion Guelph Gryphons will make the trip to Niagara Falls this week looking to capture the OUA banner for the first time since 2013-14.

Last month at the OUA Winter Invitational, the Gryphons earned several individual medals en route to capturing an overall team silver in the event. Erin Campbell (Ottawa, Ont.) and Rylee MacGregor (Creemore, Ont.) got things started for the Gryphs, winning bronze in the Intermediate Similar Pairs event.

In the Freeskate Four event, Julia Cenedese (Mississauga, Ont.), Leeann Duncan (Stirling, Ont.), Kelsey Sobkowich (Grimsby, Ont.) and MacKenzie Wilson (Innisfil, Ont.) won silver.

Last year at the OUA championship, Sobkowich and Duncan captured silver in the Sr. Similar Pairs and along with Wilson, won bronze in the Pairs Fours event.

Still chasing that elusive first OUA championship title, Makayela Hill (Pickering, Ont.) and the Ryerson Rams figure skating team enters the competition looking to improve upon a fifth place finish from a season ago.

Hill, a fourth-year business management major, finished third in the Sr. Silver Solo Dance and was a member of the Rams synchro team that finished sixth overall.

The Rams are also hoping for a repeat performance from Sawyer Buchanan (Toronto, Ont.) and Lisa Casselman (Ottawa, Ont.) who captured silver in the Sr. Silver Similar Dance event.

Ryerson's roster remains fairly intact from a season ago as Chris Berneck (Barrie, Ont.) and Taylor Smith (Georgetown, Ont.) are also back. As a rookie, Berneck won gold in the Open Freeskate event, while Smith captured bronze in the Novice Short Program.

The host Brock Badgers hope that a boisterous home crowd can help lift the team to a podium finish on Tuesday evening.

Earlier this season at the Queen's Invitational, the Badgers finished second overall thanks to three gold medal winning performances. Katie Desveaux (North York, Ont.) won gold in the Open Solo Dance, while Sydney Vanderveen (Belleville, Ont.) finished first in the Novice Short program. Desveaux also combined with Laura Holbrough (Ilderton, Ont.) to capture gold in the Open Short Dance.

Coming off a third place finish at the OUA Winter Invitational, the Badgers are proving #WEAREREADY as just three points separated them from the gold medal winning Varsity Blues. Just like at the Queen's Invitational, Desveaux and Vanderveen both won gold in their events, while Lauren Collins (Minesing, Ont.) and Kristen Dortono (Niagara on the Lake, Ont.) finished first in the Senior Silver Similar Dance event.

In search of their first OUA title since 2005-06 and their conference leading 17th in program history, the Queen's Gaels return several key skaters in 2017, including Anastasia Paspolofski (Markham, Ont.).

Last year as a rookie, Paspolofski skated to a silver medal in the Gold Starskate event. Nicole Cordeau (Kingston, Ont.) and Chantal Deane (Whistler, BC), the defending silver medalists in the Int. Similar Pairs, are also back in the mix for Queen's.

The Waterloo Warriors and the reigning Team Spirit Award winners, the Carleton Ravens, round out the competition.

For Waterloo, a team to watch would be their Dance Fours, who won gold at the OUA Winter Invitational. Also returning for the Warriors is Vincent Chan (Richmond Hill, Ont.), the defending bronze medalists in the Open Freeskate.

Carleton's Sheena Hardwick-Kelly won gold in the Novice Short Program and was named an OUA All-Star.

The OUA Championship trophy and banner, as well as gold medals for each participating skater will be presented to the winning institution at the conclusion of the Championship. OUA medals will be presented to the Gold, Silver, and Bronze finishers in each individual senior and open event.

The two-day championship will take place under the following format:

7:45 AM Opening Ceremony
8:00 AM Women's Starskate 10
9:00 AM Women's Pairs Fours
10:15 AM Women's Gold Starskate
11:15 AM Women's Novice Short Program
12:25 PM Men's Open Free Skate
1:40 PM Women's Jr. Silver Similar Dance
2:50 PM Women's Sr. Silver Similar Dance

8:00 AM Women's Open Short Dance
8:50 AM Women's Sr. Similar Pairs
10:10 AM Women's Int. Similar Pairs
11:15 AM Women's Sr. Silver Solo Dance
12:45 PM Women's Open Solo Dance
2:00 PM Gold Creative Skating Skills
3:05 PM Synchro teams 1-4
3:50 PM Synchro teams 5-9


Mattamy Athletic Centre



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