EDMONTON – 2018 Olympic team member Larkyn Austman of Coquitlam, B.C. returned from injury and opened her season with a gold medal performance in women’s competition Sunday at the Skate Challenge.
Austman was first in the short program and second in the free skate, for 171.33 points. Alison Schumacher of Tecumseh, Ont., was second at 163.32 and Michelle Long of Newmarket, Ont., third at 155.74.
‘’My goal was to win,’’ said Austman, who injured both feet this fall which forced her to withdraw from Skate Canada last month. ‘’The result here has an impact on your start order at the Canadian championships (next month). That was the big stress for me. I’ve been back full training since October and I feel so much better now after some successful treatments.’’
In ice dancing, Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sorensen of Montreal were the victors with 192.03. Haley Sales of Kelowna, B.C. and Nikolas Wamsteeker and Langley, B.C. were second at 170.34 and Molly Lanaghan and Dmitre Razgulajevs of Ajax, Ont., were third at 158.03.
‘’We feel we are right on schedule with our preparations for nationals with still some room to grow,’’ said Sorensen. ‘’We know we can get better but we don’t have to think about changing stuff.’’
In women’s junior competition, Hannah Dawson of Ottawa hung on to top spot despite the fourth best free skate for gold with 141.28 points. Emma Bulawka of Kelowna, B.C. won the free skate to climb from seventh for the silver at 138.02. Madeline Schizas of Oakville, Ont., was third at 134.47.
‘’All season I’ve been doing clean skates in the long but today it went a bit downhill,’’ said Dawson ‘’Still I was able to bring it back at the end and that helped me get the win. So that gives me some confidence going into nationals.’’
In the men’s junior event, Alistair Lam of Hamilton didn’t win the short or free programs but wound up first overall with 168.22. Jack Dushenski of Toronto climbed from ninth to second with 159.65 and Beres Clements of Gibsons, B.C. was third at 157.70.
‘’It feels great to win,’’ said Lam, who missed part of last season including nationals due to a foot injury. He was second in the short and third in the long. ‘’I’ve tried to focus more on my skating rather than the result and just do the best that I can do personally.’’
In the junior ice dance, the new team of Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Paul Ayer Brossard, Que., were the winners with 156.73 edging Yuka Orihara and Lee Royer of Burnaby, B.C. in second at 153.43. Irina Galiyanova of Toronto and Grayson Lochhead of Sweaburg, Ont. were third at 151.51.
‘’We didn’t have a good start to the season so we just wanted two decent skates here this weekend,’’ said Ayer. ‘’Being first after the rhythm dance really motivated us and helped us keep our focus for the free.’’