By Lane Wade
Three top-level performances this weekend gave the Ryerson women’s figure skating team something to talk about.
The two-day invitational held at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Arena on Bloor Street saw first-place finishes by Ryerson’s Jessie Oliver-Laird in the Junior Silver Freeskate and by assistant captain Emily Bosomworth in the Senior Silver Solo Dance. Lauren Gosnell also had a strong performance and placed second in the Senior Bronze Freeskate.
Oliver-Laird’s first-place finish was an exciting surprise considering her seventh place standing in the November 24th tournament.
“Last time I was nervous and the skate wasn’t quite as good. This time I didn’t fall, I landed all the jumps and it was clean,” she says.
Bosomworth was equally pleased and described the final team synchro event as being one of the highlights of the weekend.
Although they placed eighth out of 19, the team of 12 performed the precision routine to a fun and fresh Madonna medley, which included instrumentals from Vogue, Used to be my Playground, and Material Girl.
Team manager Jackie Franke says the girls’ 6 a.m. skate, late hours and five-day-a-week dedication determined the fantastic finish.
“Everybody skated their best and the girls worked really hard to accomplish their goals,” says Franke. “Jessie had a clean skate and Emily looked like she floated across the ice. When it looks effortless, you know they did a great job.”
Team captain Sarah McKenna added the relatively small size of the team has given them an underdog status in the OUA competition.
“Every other team has 16 skaters and all the other teams have tryouts but we don’t, we just get by and if we had any less than 12 then we couldn’t compete. Now that we have some top placings we’re getting a better name.”
The Toronto Invitational is the second of the three major competitions the team will compete in this season. They are seventh overall in a field of 11 with the sixth place Waterloo Warriors a scant 3 points away at 35. The Queen’s Golden Gaels currently lead the pack with 94 points followed closely by last year’s winners, the Western Mustangs at 92. The next closest is the U of T Varsity Blues at 46 with the Carleton Ravens rounding out the field at 11th with no points.
The 31 points accumulated from this competition will be carried over into the OUA final, scheduled for Feb. 14 and 15 at Waterloo.
Captain McKenna foresees a strong finish for the team and says that these personal bests and top placings will only continue to prove that Ryerson’s underdogs are capable of major overachievement.
“I’ve always had high expectations because we have some really strong skaters and every year we seem to get better. I’m hopeful for a fifth or sixth overall at the finals.”
Other honourable mentions from the weekend include Camellia Asbreuk who placed fifth in the Senior Silver Freeskate, Christine Eagleson who placed sixth in the Gold Ladies Freeskate and Carrie Winslade and Stacey Robinson who placed sixth in the Junior Silver Pairs Dance.