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Sudbury skaters taking upcoming meet in stride
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Mikayla Fabbro is likely to feel the nerves more than Sudbury Skating Club mates Eva Baronette, Angela Tripodi and Mackenzie Roy as the local quartet make their way to compete at the Sectional Series event in Barrie this weekend.

Or maybe not.

At age 17 and a veteran of countless previous competitions, including the Canadian Figure Skating Championships a year or two ago, Fabbro has travelled this road before. And while the upcoming meet represents a Sectionals Qualifier for her particular bracket, the experience she has garnered has likely allowed her to take it all in stride.

Ranging from age 10 (Tripodi) to 12 (both Baronette and Roy), the remaining trio find themselves at a much different stage of their skating journey. So while the Barrie meet is far more of a learning experience for the local troika, not counting towards year-end provincials, one can certainly understand the trepidation that comes part and parcel of youth.

“When I first did a competition, I was really, really nervous,” said Tripodi, a grade six student at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School who will be strutting her stuff before judges and crowd for the fourth time ever this weekend. “By my second one, I was a little bit nervous and now, I haven’t been too nervous.”

Sounds like the entire Sudbury delegation is in a really good place, mindset-wise, with the short and long routines just days ahead. “I am excited to perform with the crowd and the judges as a practice for the Provincial Series,” stated Baronette. “I know that I don’t have to nail everything.”

“I can focus on more on performing.”

With most competing at their first event since August, there comes the benefit of unveiling those new tweaks that have been paramount to practice sessions through the early fall of the 2023-2024 season.

“At the last competition, I didn’t have my double Lutz in my solo,” said Tripodi. “But now, I am getting it super consistent, landing it almost in every one of my solos. That’s pretty exciting for me, seeing myself getting better even in the last month or so.”

Currently in just her second year of competitive skating, the youngest of three children in the family suggested that the natural development that aligns with physical growth has certainly helped her progress in some key areas of her jump.

“I think the thing I have to do the most is just getting up high enough to do it,” said Tripodi. “I think I’ve gotten a lot better at that.”

And with every ensuing step along the way comes the ability to take from the challenges that are pretty much a certainty in sports. “At my first competition, I kind of got a little bit confused of where I was (on the ice), just because I am so used to skating here (Countryside Arena),” noted Tripodi.

“In my solo, I was in different places and kind of got confused. But as long as I can picture myself on the ice now before I compete, then it’s not too bad.”

Two years her elder and a grade 8 student at Ecole St-Pierre, Eva Baronette is every bit as fixated on looking at the next few days as a trial and error undertaking that will allow her to be that much more prepared when there is more on the line in a few months’ time.

“I can see from my points what I have to work on before my next competition in December,” said the Sudbury skater who first laced them up maybe seven or eight years ago and transitioned to the competitive stream not long before Covid.

“I will know if I need to work on my technical skills, like my jumps, or more of my performance skills: how I perform to the music, the eye contact, smiling and all that.”

Though there are clear differentiators between Fabbro and her teammates, they do share some common bonds, including the need to determine, mid-routine, any on the fly adjustments that need to be made, a task that Baronette admits takes a little time to feel comfortable with.

“I can decide during my routine whether to do a double axel or not, or I can pick which combos to do in the solo during the solo,” she said. “In practice, if my flip loop isn’t going well, I’ll put the loop on the Lutz and switch it around. It’s tricky because there are rules about having the combo on the repeated jump.”

“You’re thinking: if I do this, will I lose the whole jump.”

While Fabbro is part of the Novice women’s bracket, both Roy and Baronette will vary from juvenile to Star 9 in moving from short to long programs while Tripodi glides from pre-juvenile to Star 9.

Variety, as they say, is a spice of life, even for young figure skaters.

“I like how soft the music is for my long program and then I have a jazz (piece) for my short program,” said Baronette. “I feel that is different than what I usually do.”

Following the upcoming weekend, Fabbro will prepare for one final Sectional Qualifier in early November, with an eye towards cracking the list for the 2024 Skate Ontario Sectional Championships December 7th to 10th in Huntsville.

Baronette, Roy and Tripodi will stay even closer to home with their first Provincial Series meet being hosted by the Nickel Blades Skating Club in Garson on the weekend of December 1st to the 3rd.

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