The Annual Lake Placid Figure Skating Championships took place in late June at the Olympic Center, bringing approximately 400 skaters from six countries to Lake Placid. The competition took place in the 1932 and 1980 arenas and was open to the public for a small admission fee, allowing visitors the opportunity to watch the figure skating events live.
This year, there were six countries represented in the competition as a whole, several of which were in the Senior Ladies category alone.
The countries represented were Canada, Estonia, Israel, Mexico, Great Britain, and the United States. Canada, Estonia, Israel, and the US were represented in the Senior Ladies category, while Mexico, Canada, and the US was represented in the Junior Ladies category. Additionally, skaters from the US, Canada, and Great Britain competed in the Novice Ladies event.
As the competition usually hosts skaters from the US and Canada alone, this larger representation of International skaters added excitement to the proceedings. It’s not surprising that so many chose to compete in the Championships; the Lake Placid Figure Skating Championships has long been considered one in a series of important pre-season competitions, where competitors can perform their (often new) programs for the judges to evaluate what needs to be improved for the upcoming competition season in the fall.
The Senior Ladies competition was particularly fierce this year, with a large field and more International competitors. One of the competitors in the field was 2016 Canadian Champion Alaine Chartrand (who won last year’s LP Championships), and several of the competitors have competed Internationally. Skaters in this level attempted and/or executed triple jumps, multiple position spins, and challenging choreography within the 2 minutes 50 seconds long Short Program and 4-minute-long Free Skate (also called Long Program).
The winner of the Senior Short Program was Alaine Chartrand of Nepean SC (Canada), whose program included a triple lutz/triple toe combination jump. She won with a score of 57.42. Second place went to Megan Wessenberg of the US (Skating Club of Boston) with a score of 52.99, after a program that included a triple toe-triple toe combination jump. The third place finisher was Aimee Buchanan of Israel, who also executed a triple toe-triple toe combination and scored 50.41 in the short program.
The Senior Long Program was even more exciting. Buchanan skated a technically demanding program and leapt ahead in the long program, scoring a 97.72 total in her free skate. Meanwhile, coming into the event as the leader after the Short Program, Chartrand fumbled, falling on several triple jumps and ending up with a 90.43 score. Heidi Munger of the Skating Club of Boston placed third, with a score of 90.30.
“I was so excited about winning; my goal going into the event was to try new elements and to skate the program with all of my choreography and see how my component marks responded,” said Buchanan, about her long program performance. “I wasn’t even sure I was going to compete long program because it was very new to me, but I am very glad that I did and feel it was a successful debut.”
Buchanan added that she “accomplished her goals of this competition, as she earned a personal best in both short and long program and skated the programs as well as I could for this point in the season.”
This summer, Buchanan will be competing in “local” competitions, so called because they usually attract skaters from the Region and are not qualifying events. She plans to compete in Charter Oak Open Competition in Simsbury, CT and the Cranberry Open in Cape Cod, MA. Like Lake Placid, both of these are popular “prep” competitions that elite skaters use as a barometer for their programs before the qualifying season. And when the qualifying season does start, Buchanan has well-defined goals for the season.
“This season, my goals are to qualify for the World Championships and to return to the European Championships as I did last year. I’m also shooting for my triple-triple (combination jump) to get more consistent in my short program.”
Buchanan will start competing internationally starting in September, and looks forward to receiving her assignments for these events from the Israeli federation shortly.
Local skaters from the Skating Club of Lake Placid and Tupper Lake Figure Skating Club took part in the competition as well.
Ciana Cerruti was the highest level athlete for the SCLP, competing in the Novice Ladies event. Other skaters competing for the SCLP included Carly Brox (Pre-Juvenile Girls Test Track), Chloe Hurteau (Pre-Preliminary Girls Test Track Group B) and Sarah Samperi (Prelimary Girls Test Track).
SCLP skaters placing in their events included Brenna DeWalt – first in Pre Juvenile Moves in the Field; Grace Ericson – third in Pre Preliminary Girls Test Track Group A; Dominica Sarandeva – second in Pre Juvenile Moves in the Field; and Michaela Gillis, who tied for third in High Beginner Girls FS Group B. Taylor Stoll of the Tupper Lake Figure Skating Club competed in Beginner Girls FS Group B, and placed third.
Tiffani Healey, a skating coach in Lake Placid who coaches several of the above skaters, was pleased with their performances and progress.
“They all skated well, I was so excited for them.”
Skating continues in Lake Placid with synchronized skating camp, the Lake Placid skating summer camp, and the Saturday Night Ice Show on July 9 featuring Doug Razzano.
Photo: Senior Ladies winner Aimee Buchanan (Israel). Courtesy of Miracle Moment Sports Photography.