A personal best

Matt Molloy
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Drover skates her finest, waiting for provincial announcement

Countless hours of practice is paying off for Gander Silver Jets figure skater Charity Drover.

What she learned during the bumps, bruises, highs, and lows was put to the test earlier this month at the 2011 Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Sectional Championships at the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay.

Drover skated to a sixth-place finish at the Nov. 11-12 event with a personal-best score of 55.15, while fellow Silver Jet Jadyn Barron skated to a 49.65, which placed her ninth.

"They both had excellent skates," said coach April Barron. "Charity skated to a personal-best...she couldn't have skated any better. It was just phenomenal. Jadyn had a really good skate, too. It's her first year skating in a new category, so she's up a notch from last year, and she skated very well."

Prior to a practice last week, the two skaters and their coach spoke to The Beacon about this year's sectionals.

Drover was still a little lost for words when asked about her personal-best skate. The look on her face pretty much said it all, but the local skater managed to say that her scores were indicative of the work she's been putting in this season. 

"It was the best skate I've ever had. I'm really proud of myself," said Drover. "I don't think I could have done any better, and I don't think I've ever done any better.

"I punched in a lot more hard work this year than I did last year," she added. "That helped a lot."

Jadyn Barron competed in the juvenile women division last year, and is competing in pre-novice women this year.

Although she admitted to not having her best skate at sectionals, she was anything but disappointed. Like her coach said, she's competing in a new division this year, and sectionals gave her an idea of the level of competition she'll be facing.

"The girls in pre-novice competitive are a lot more competitive," said Jadyn Barron. "The juvenile women division was also competitive, but not as competitive as pre-novice women. You need to have a clean program in pre-novice women or you're done.

"It wasn't my best, but I thought I did okay," she continued. "I had new jumps in there that I didn't do last year, like a double lutz, and I was pretty confident about landing that jump going into the competition."

“I’m just waiting…I think I reached the criteria. Now it’s just waiting for them to check to see if it’s all okay.” Charity Drover

Drover's sixth-place finish, coupled with the fact she landed a few important jumps, could land her a spot on Skate Canada Newfoundland and Labrador's Provincial B team.

As her coach explains, making the B squad will give Drover a chance to participate in some special events.

"Manon Perron, who's the coach of Joannie Rochette, is our technical advisor for Skate Newfoundland and Labrador, and they setup criteria where you have to finish in the top-eight, and you also have to reach a certain jump criteria, as well," said April Barron, when asked about the criteria of making the provincial team. "They have to land either a double flip or double lutz, plus a double-double combo. They videotaped the entire competition from juvenile up, and they'll send those tapes to Manon, and the team will be announced at the end of November."

Last year, members of the A and B provincial teams participated in different seminars and different sessions, and they were also invited to St. John's for a two-day seminar with Perron, where she evaluated the skaters and gave them one-on-one feedback.

As of last week, Drover was anxiously waiting to hear back from the provincial board to see if she made the B squad.

"I'm just waiting," said Drover. "I placed in the top-eight, I did a double-double, and I did a double flip and a double lutz, so I think I reached the criteria. Now it's just waiting for them to check to see if it's all okay."

However, although she can say she's waiting for the results with a straight face, rest assured there are butterflies doing jumps and flips in her stomach. As she waits, she sometimes thinks back to her routine and wonders if she could have done anything a little better.

"It's really nerve wrecking thinking, could I have done that a little better, or could I have landed this jump a little better," said Drover. "I skated my best, and that's all I could do."

mmolloy@ganderbeacon.ca

Geographic location: Torbay, St. John's

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