Chelsea Raful has spun further than other Prince George figure skaters this season.
The Spruce City Figure Skating Club (SCFSC) member is the only skater from the city to qualify for the Zone 8 team at the British Columbia Winter Games in Vernon from Feb. 23 to 26.
"I think it's really cool," she said shyly. "It's going to be a great experience."
There are four skaters on the Zone 8 figure skating team.
SCFSC director of skating and coach Rory Allen said the challenge for Raful in Vernon is to improve her spins, score a combined score in the short and long programs of 70 and land three double lutz's. The 14-year-old's personal best was 55, which she scored at sectionals this season.
"It's always good to set high goals for yourself," said Allen. "We've been working on confidence with Chelsea."
Prince George doesn't have a reputation for having its skaters medal outside of its own zone, something Allen said he's determined to change.
"It's always been an issue in P.G. about not being competitive, so we're working on confidence with all the skaters," he said. "To medal outside the region is a goal we're working on for the future."
After she returns from Vernon Raful has the regional event in Quesnel from March 9 to 11 to prepare for while getting read to take her novice skate test on the final weekend of March. If Raful passes she will be the highest active level figure skater in Prince George.
Hampole oozes confidence
Raful would be set if she could bottle some of the confidence oozing from teammate Justin Hampole's pores.
The 10 year old won gold at the Ogopogo freeskate competition in Penticton from Feb. 10 to 12 with a personal best of 28.32 - a full 10 points ahead of the second-place skater.
"I like to perform in front of crowds," said the gregarious skater. "It makes me feel happy."
In addition to winning gold, Hampole took his juvenile test in Penticton and has doubled his scores since the B.C. Summer Skate last August in Vancouver.
Allen said there's many benefits to having Hampole at Spruce City.
"He's a good ambassador to get other boys involved," said Allen.
Hampole's goal for the regional skate is to achieve another personal best, while his long-term ambition is to skate like his idol Kurt Browning.
"He's a really good performer and makes you feel like you're actually skating with him."
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Figure skater Chelsea Raful knew for a few months she’d be competing in this weekend’s BC Winter Games in Vernon.Spruce City Skating Club director of skating Rory Allen elaborated on Raful’s routine. Could it win her a medal?
Although Raful is the only Spruce City skater competing in Vernon this weekend, she isn’t the only club member making headlines. Ten-year-old juvenile skater Justin Hampole won gold at the Ogopogo competition Feb. 10 to 12 in Penticton, where he also passed his juvenile competitive test.
“He’s having an awesome season,” Allen said of Hampole. “In just under a year, he’s moved up three levels, which is typically very unheard of. Skaters would typically move up one level every one to two years, so in less than a year, he’s moved up three levels.”
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