"Overall, I am very proud of the team," said Rams head coach Janean Bruhn. "Since the New Year we have stepped up our training and the athletes' efforts are showing. We improved in a number of events."
Sault St. Marie, Ont. native Alysha Gjos provided the best performance for Ryerson, taking home a silver medal in the Senior Silver Freeskate. The Retail Management major hit the podium just two months after finishing fourth at the Fall Invitational in Kingston, Ont.
Bruhn is optimistic about Gjos' chances at the OUA Championships in Waterloo, Ont. "There is not a doubt in my mind that Alysha can take the gold, and she certainly wants to win it as well."
First-year Katherine Bilinsky competed in two events on day 1, and finished third in the Gold Women's Freeskate. The Etobicoke, Ont. product improved from her previous sixth place finish in the event at the Fall Invitational. Bilinsky also skated to a fifth place result in the Senior Silver Women's Solo Dance.
"I am exceptionally pleased with Emily and Katie. They are a great partnership and work very well together. A great accomplishment for them both," exclaimed Bruhn.
North York, Ont. native and rookie Melanie Yeung represented the Rams in both the Novice Women's Freeskate and the Open Individual Solo Dance.
Bruhn also praised the development of her six first-years athletes. "They are enthusiastic and want to improve their skating. It is a tough adjustment to make to the competitive structure of OUA figure skating versus that of Skate Canada. We just need to work through the process to get all them to up to their ultimate potential."
The Rams were disappointed with their result in the Pairs Four Freeskate, which includes Bilinsky, Yeung, Coxworth and Barbara Basar.
The group finished last in the event, but Coach Bruhn is still confident about their future success. "The elements are there, and they are an extremely talented group. We have a couple of kinks to work out with the choreography and execution. (They) are a young group and just need to gain some experience."
The Rams skaters will now work towards the OUA Championship, which takes place from February 17-18 at the University of Waterloo. In the hunt for the podium will be Gjos, as well as the breakout rookie Bilinsky, who Bruhn believes can medal in both the Senior Solo Dance and Gold Freeskate.
"This team has a great deal of potential. The hard work of our season is done in terms of developing our skills; the rest is just about building consistency and confidence for game day. That will be the focus for the remainder of our season so we can deliver a clean, solid performance at (OUA's)."