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Copper Cliff SC carry a team of 17 skaters to the Tri-Towns
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Individually and collectively, the athletes representing the Copper Cliff Skating Club at Skate the Shores in Haileybury this weekend are more than a little amped.

Whether this be a chance to break new ground as a veteran skater or the very first taste of a truly competitive setting for the newcomers, one and all are experiencing a heightened sense of anticipation as the event kicked off Friday night.

As a club, a group that is 17-members strong making the trek to the Tri-Towns area is a clear-cut sign that the CCSC is turning the corner after taking the hit that most sports did in the wake of the global pandemic.

Covid, however, is the furthest thing for the mind of ten year-old Lorenzo Claro Della Justina, a Star 2 competitor who is about as set as he can be to tackle this environment for the very first time.

"I was nervous like two weeks ago, but then I got more confident because I learned my solo well," noted the highly talkative youngster who was born in Brazil but has spent the past six years in Canada with his family.

"Now, I am pretty confident, yet somewhat nervous."

If there is a little back and forth when it comes to his pre-skate emotions, there is none when it comes to the comfort level he enjoys with his favourite jump. "I really like to do a waltz jump," offered the grade five student at MacLeod Public School.

"I like it because it's easy to do yet it looks so professional and hard."

Just a couple of years into his tenure with the Copper Cliff Club and blessed with parents who are also taking on the challenge that is the adult skating class for two relative newcomers to the country, Claro Della Justina looked back on a first half of the 2023-2024 season that was filled with improvement.

"I learned how to do a backspin, loop jump and flip jump," he beamed. "I learned a lot of new stuff this year - and several things with the crosscuts."

Skating since the age of four, high-school freshman Jenna Eastman from Lo-Ellen Park Secondary School is incorporating far less that is "brand new" into her routines, given a decade or so of involvement with a sport on which she wavered a little, at times.

"I started skating when I was really young," said Eastman. "I had tried a whole bunch of different sports and none of them were really like my favourite. Then I tried figure skating and liked it, but it got tough and I wasn't really sure - but now it turns out that I do like it a lot."

Still, for all of the experience of previous competitions that Eastman has garnered, the newness of taking to the ice at the Shelley Herbert-Shea Memorial Arena, a completely new setting for her, does create a bit of anxiety.

"It's a little bit scary because you don't really know the set-up, but as soon as you start to figure it out, you can kind of just map out your solo on the ice," she said.

As for goals for the weekend, Eastman is trying to keep an open mind.

"If I could land my jumps and just have a good performance overall, then I would be very happy with that," she said, elaborating on a couple of the potential pit-falls that lurk ahead.

"I recently landed my axel but it's still kind of shaky," Eastman added. "The takeoff is really important, especially with my arms. They need to be in place. If the takeoff isn't good, then the jump isn't good."

A Star 5 competitor, representing the more senior skaters with the club along with the likes of Beth Jewitt, Brooke Campeau and Emma Chateauvert, Eastman will compete both her artistic and solo routines, entering the event with a very positive frame of mind.

"I used to be more comfortable doing my artistic but since I recently landed my axel, I enjoy doing my solo as well and landing the jumps," she admitted.

Rounding out the Copper Cliff Skating Club contingent that will be in Haileybury this weekend are Caterina Claro Della Justina, Charlotte Telfer Hill, Claire Nesseth, Emma Del Olmo Cryderman, Gemma Houle, Harper O'Hare, Hilde Moxam, Lauren Trudel, Riley Mascioli, Samantha Howard-Smith, Sofie Lampi and Violet Holloway.

Sudbury Wolves