REGINA – Junior-age standout Stephen Gogolev of Toronto made his mark at the senior level Friday with a victory in the men’s event at the 2022 Skate Canada Challenge.
Still only 16, Gogolev won the short program and Friday’s free skate earning 235.47 points. Aleksa Rakic of Burnaby, B.C., who tuned 17 in September followed at 205.06, despite ranking third in both programs. Meanwhile 19-year-old Corey Circelli of Toronto moved from ninth after the short to third at 201.33.
Gogolev made national headlines as a junior capped with a victory at the ISU Junior Grand Prix final in 2018 at age 13. On Friday he produced a clean program to a Peter Gabriel medley landing seven jumps including a quad Salchow and two tripe Axels, including one in combination.
‘’I think tonight was a huge step for Stephen,’’ said Gogolev’s coach Lee Barkell. ‘’It was his first time back competing in front of Canadian judges and it’s a great stepping stone heading into national championships in January.’’
Gogolev competed once before this season at the Warsaw Cup ISU Challenger Series event last month placing 11th.
‘’I felt pretty confident coming into this competition,’’ said Gogolev. ‘’I had more time to work on aspects of the program. I might add an element or two at nationals depending on how comfortable I am with them.’’
In pairs, Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que., took the gold medal with 176.83 points followed by Lori-Ann Matte and Thierry Ferland of Levis, Que., at 162.97 and Patricia Andrew and Steven Adcock of Brantford, Ont., third at 156.18.
‘’We really wanted to focus on staying together and staying present,’’ said Stellato-Dudek. ‘’A lot of times we get the benefit of being called fighters and coming back in the program but that’s because we are taking one element at a time and not focusing on prior mistakes we potentially had in the program.’’
In junior pairs, Brooke McIntosh of Toronto and Benjamin Mimar of Terrebonne, Que., representing Ontario, were the winners.
‘’I’m just happy to be back on the ice and back in competition,’’ said McIntosh, who was out two months with an injury. ‘’The last two weeks of training we’re pretty good and we just wanted to go out and duplicate that today.’’
Skate Canada Challenge is a qualifying event for novice, junior and senior skaters to earn entries to the 2022 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships, taking place in Ottawa, Ont., from January 6 to 13, 2022.
This event is also the the 2022 Pre-Novice National Championships.
The winners in novice competition were: David Shteyngart of Ottawa for the men, Kayla Halliday of Brookswood, Alta., for the women, Kaitlyn Ho and Daniel Yu of Alberta in ice dancing and Ava Kemp and Yohnatan Elizarov of Winnipeg in pairs
In pre-novice so far are: Megan Woodley of Orillia, Ont., for the women and Alexane Jean and Charly Laliberté-Laurent of Chambly, Que., in pairs.
Competition continues through to Sunday at Evraz Place in Regina.
More information: https://skatecanada.ca/2022-skate-canada-challenge/#tab-id-7