HALIFAX – Eleven-year-old Stephen Gogolev of Toronto landed a triple Axel en route to the gold medal in men’s novice competition which concluded on Wednesday at the 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships.
Gogolev scored 142.30 to outdistance his nearest rival by more than 20 points. Matthew Markell of Prescott, Ont., took silver at 120.25 and Bruce Waddell of Toronto was third at 106.91.
‘’I felt more comfortable in the long program than the short,’’ said Gogolev, who is coached by Brian Orser. ‘’I just wanted to go out there and do my best for my first nationals.’’
Markell also delivered a personal best performance. ‘’There are some elements I know I could have done better but it is a great way to end the season,’’ he said.
Ontario skaters grabbed all four Canadian titles in novice.
In ice dancing, Olivia Han and Grayson Lochhead of Kitchener, Ont., took the gold with 90.26 points. Alicia Fabbri of Terrebonne, Que., and Claudio Pietrantonio and Laval, Que., were second at 89.22 and Irina Galiyanova and Tommy Tang of Toronto were third at 87.50.
‘’It was pretty intense and lots of fun,’’ said Han. ‘’We are pretty proud of our performances.’’
In pairs, first-year teammates Jamie Knoblauch and Cody Wong of Milton, Ont., were the victors at 119.90. Katrina Lopez and Kurtis Schreiber of Calgary were second at 104.81 and Hannah Dawson of Hawkesbury, Ont., and Daniel Villeneuve of Sherbrooke, Que., were third at 103.50.
‘’We did exactly what we wanted,’’ said Wong. ‘’We had fun with it.’’
In women’s competition, Aurora Cotop of Thornhill, Ont., overcame a three point deficit after the short program to win gold with 123.85. Olivia Gran of Kelowna, B.C., the leader heading into the long, followed at 121.84 and Natalie D’Alessandro of Thornhill was third 117.56.
‘’For my free program I really wanted to just perform after getting the nerves out in the short,’’ said Cotop. ‘’I wanted to show what I could do.’’
Competition continues Thursday with the completion of the junior event.
The seniors go Friday and Saturday.
More information: 2016 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships