Local figure skater, Alexis Engwerda has learned that she has been slotted into a wild card position and will be skating at the upcoming Skate Ontario Championship (All-Ontario) this weekend, March 19-20, in Sudbury.
“Last year, Skate Canada changed the qualifying criteria to top four skaters in the senior bronze to gold freeskate events, and added a “Wildcard” qualifier,” explains Morrisburg and District Figure skate Club president Julie VanHoof. “The criteria for the Wildcard skater is…after each section has held their qualifying event [EOSIC here], the skater with the highest technical score from the four region events (Eastern, Central Northern and Western) would get the Wildcard spot allowing them to also compete at the Skate Ontario Championship.”
“The skater that qualified as the Wildcard skater in the Senior Silver Ladies is injured and unable to skate. Alexis is the next skater in line and will be skating at the Skate Ontario Championship.”
Engwerda, is the reigning “Senior Bronze” Provincial Champion won last year at the All-Ontario. She went to the All-Ontario after qualifying in the second spot at EOSIC and won the championship with a personal best skate.
Between last year’s win and this year, Engwerda has moved up two skating levels from Senior Bronze to Senior Silver, which is a fairly hefty move.
“It was quite a surprise when we heard the news,” says coach Allison Scott of the wild card spot. “Very unexpected, but incredibly exciting!”
“As a result of Alexis’ progress and highly successful season last year, we decided to move up, not just one level, but two levels this year to compete at Senior Silver,” says Scott. “This was a half a minute increase to her skating program with six jump elements, of which three are double/double jump combinations, three spins and a choreographic sequence. It is a significant jump to a much more ‘jam-packed’ difficult program from last season, which Alexis has embraced enthusiastically.”
“We are honoured and thrilled, and are simply going to enjoy the experience of being lucky enough to attend the Skate Ontario Championships once again!”
Engwerda placed fifth at this year’s EOSIC in February, which put her in an “alternate” spot for the All-Ontario. Her performance also put her in the running for a wild card spot.
Alexis says she is excited to have the opportunity to skate at the All-Ontario again although it is unfortunate that it is because of an injury to another skater.
“I am going to focus on and try to improve my spins, and also my presentation,” she says of her planned practise schedule. “They weren’t as good as I wanted at EOSIC.”
Engwerda says she has worked hard on her Senior Silver program and although she didn’t qualify in a top four spot, she is excited. “It was really fun last year, and I am excited to have the opportunity again this year. I am going to go there and have fun.”
Coach and skater both agree that this will be an experience that will be put to good use.