This week, the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena is heating up with the talents of skaters from throughout the eastern United States.
"There are about 200 skaters here, and they are here with coaches and chaperones and we have about 45 officials here this week," said Mary Handley, event chairperson. "We have here some previous national medalists who are again having to go through the process to compete at nationals again."
She said the lowest tier of U.S. Figure Skating competition - juvenile - is represented with some skaters as young as 11 years old. Through Saturday, skaters of all ages will perform at the arena in singles, pairs and ice dancing.
Grace Knoop and Noah Chenault of the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club compete in the Intermediate Pairs competition Wednesday at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Association Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championship at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena. The competition continues today. For more coverage, see Sports.
P-J?photos by John Whittaker
The top eight finishers in juvenile and intermediate pairs and ice dancing will compete at the 2012 U.S. Junior Championships next month in East Lansing, Mich.
The top four finishers in novice, junior and senior from each type of skating performance will move on to the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif.
Ongoing sectional competitions this week are held in Jamestown, Salt Lake City and Fort Collins, Colo.
Competition Continues Today
Skating begins at 9:10 a.m. today and ends at 5:15 p.m.
Thursday's schedule includes many of the upper-level competitors, including senior dance at 1:35 p.m., senior pairs at 4:05 p.m., senior men at 4:50 p.m. and senior ladies at 6:50 p.m.
Tickets are $10 a day and $35 for an all-event pass.
For more information, visit www.chautauquaice.com or call 484-2624.
Results are posted at www.usfigureskating.org.
"This is an event that U.S. Figure skating awards to a different city and club every year," Ms. Handley said, adding that the arena and Jamestown Skating Club have hosted a North Atlantic regional competition as well as the Junior National finals. She said a great deal of champion skating talent has come through the doors of the arena.
"We have a history here of really high level skating in Jamestown," she said. "There have been a lot of skaters from the Jamestown Skating Club that have gone on to compete on the national and international level."
Along with the continued support of veteran coaches Lenel van den Berg and Kirk Wyse, she thanked the local volunteers that continue to support these types of event.
Outside the arena, Ms. handley predicted increased business in hotels and restaurants to accommodate as many as 1,000 downtown visitors. She added "they should recognize that they may be serving an Olympic champion."
With the competition schedule under way, longtime skating judge and chief referee Lucy Brennan said the local downtown facility offers a level of convenience that is not always present at other venues. She said other competitions require commutes between multiple rinks and lodging.
"This is a wonderful facility to be in because both rinks are identical in shape and ice surface," she said. "It is easy to plan a schedule for a sectional because you can use the other rink for practice."
A resident of New York City, she said she has been to similar competitive events in Jamestown on three occasions.
A schedule of practices and competitive events at chautauquaice.com.