by Ashli Meynert | Photos by Melanie Hoyt
Two weekends ago, Burnaby 8 Rinks was the host of the annual BC/YK Summer Skate competition. The top junior and senior dance teams from British Columbia competed here and showed exactly why they are ones to watch in the upcoming season.
Andie-Lynn Gingrich & Dayton Stewart (AB/NU/NT): This team seems to be just starting at the junior level, as they were a little more cautious than the other competitors. They had easier lifts than the other teams, but they did perform them very well. In their short dance, they had the misfortune of falling out of a lift, but I liked the fact that they didn’t let it phase them and they kept going strong. All in all, I’ve got faith that this team has potential in the upcoming season after their performances.
Alexa Linden & Eric Streichsbier (BC/YK): Linden and Streichsbier are a new team to Megan Wing & Aaron Lowe’s group. They were a bit slower and more cautious than their teammates, but the skating skills looked strong overall. Their main weak spot seemed to be on their timing with twizzles, but that will get better once they figure themselves out as a team. I also see some good promise with them and can’t wait to see what they can do in upcoming season.
Courtney Royer & Addison Voldeng (AB/NU/NT): This is also a newer team that is working with Wing & Lowe. This team seems to be more comfortable with each other and it shows in their skating. Both of their programs were fairly well skated with some more speed than the previous teams. They had a few mishaps, but that is to be expected this early on in the season. I can see them rising to the top of junior next season.
Kumiko Maeda & Aru Tateno (JPN): Maeda & Tateno are a team from Japan who came to train with Wing & Lowe for the summer. They made the trip to Burnaby in order to work on improving their skating, since Japan does not have high-level ice dance training. Their programs seemed fairly strong, with a few bobbles on the twizzles and some scratchiness. However, I see a good amount of potential considering that Maeda is only 12 years old according to a source at the rink.
Jessica Jiang & Tyler Miller (BC/YK): Jiang & Miller (pictured, top right) showed quite a bit of promise as a team during this competition. Although they are new partnership this season, they have both trained with Wing & Lowe for a while now, and it showed. Their short dance was very strong and showed their personalities. During their free dance, their nerves showed but it was still a fairly strong skate. If Jiang & Miller don’t move up to senior by next season, then I can see them at the top of juniors very soon.
Danielle Wu & Spencer Soo (BC/YK): Wu & Soo are one of Wing & Lowe’s top teams. Their lifts and skating skills are top notch, reminding me of Virtue & Moir. Both of their programs were very strong and already senior-level worthy. I can see Wu & Soo taking over the junior ranks this year and moving up to senior for next season.
Madeline Edwards & Zhaokai Pang (BC/YK): After winning junior nationals last season, Edwards & Pang have moved onto senior nationals for this season, but continue to compete at junior for the Grand Prix and Junior Worlds. Both of their programs are very strong and very well performed. If they keep improving at the rate that they are, Edwards & Pang are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
Brianna Delmaestro & Timothy Lum (BC/YK): Delmaestro has not been ice dancing for as long as her partner, but it’s almost impossible to tell. Except for a small bobble on their twizzle sequence and a trip during the second round of their quickstep during their short program, both their programs were very well skated. They are another of the teams that I can see moving to the senior ranks very quickly.
Whitney Miller & Shane Firus (BC/YK): Miller & Firus (pictured, left) showed a good amount of potential as a team at this competition. Their programs were strong as were their skating skills. I can see them doing very well in the junior ranks and then eventually moving up to the senior level.
Nana Sugiki & Hiroichi Noguchi (JPN): Sugiki & Noguchi are also from Japan and they came to Wing & Lowe this summer in order to improve their skating. During their short dance, they had some timing issues on their twizzles and were fairly scratchy throughout the Finnstep. Their lifts in both programs were fairly simple, but also strained. In the free dance, Noguchi leaned too far back in their final straight line lift causing them to take a fall.
Pilar Maekawa & Leonardo Maekawa (BC/YK): The Maekawas had two very strong skates during this competition. Their short dance was a lot of fun to watch and showed quite a bit of their personalities. Their Finnstep was a little scratchy, but overall the dance was fairly solid. For their “Nightmare Before Christmas” free dance, everything was very strong but seemed to be fairly safe. They should do a good job this season representing Mexico on the international circuit.
Nicole Orford & Thomas Williams (BC/YK): Orford & Williams showed during this competition that they are contenders for the third spot to the 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Their Finnstep was very strong, with the only obvious mistake during their short dance being a slight bobble during their rotational lift. For the free dance, they picked music from the “Phantom of the Opera” sequel, “Love Never Dies.” The program itself is well choreographed with very intricate lifts. The only bobble during the program was made by Williams during their circular step sequence. This is going to be a program to watch later in the season.