Minden skater earns gold
|By Matthew Desrosiers - Editor | March 20, 2015|
A Minden ice dancer and her skating partner are Ontario champions.
River Christiano, 14, and Morgan Raffo competed in Brampton at the 2015 Skate Ontario Championships, from March 13-15. The pair won gold in the senior bronze dance category.
“I was kind of surprised,” said Christiano. “We weren’t really expecting to win.”
Christiano skates out of the Minden Skating Club, while Raffo skates out of Fenelon Falls. The pair have been skating together for a year-and-a-half. They get together to practice twice per week, alternating between the two clubs.
She said they didn’t know what they would be up against at the provincials, but they were both excited and shocked to get to the win.
Ice dancing is similar to figure skating, except you don’t do jumps or spins. The programs emphasize footwork, and it’s likened to ballroom dancing on ice. The pairs need to skate in sync, and really work together. In this competition, all of the pairs performed the same two pattern dances and were scored on their execution.
Christiano and Raffo earned 14.31 points. The second place team scored 13.60.
The two qualified for provincials with a gold medal win at the Eastern Ontario Championships earlier in the season.
While the pair have enjoyed their success this year, Christiano is already looking to next season.
“Next year, I think we’re going to sectionals, which is for more competitive skaters,” she said. “I’m excited for that. We get to do free dance, which is kind of like pairs, but doesn’t have all the same elements [as everyone else’s]. It’s like a pattern dance but you put your own routine together.”
She said the best part about free dance is the ability to choose your own music.
Over the next four years, Christiano and Raffo have their eyes on nationals. To that end, the pair will be working with a personal trainer out of Lindsay to do off-ice training. Christiano is also skating year round, and this summer will spend time at an international ice dance arena in Scarborough with world-class and Olympic skaters.
She attended the Scarborough arena last year, as well.
“It was nice because I got to see what we had to work towards,” Christiano said. “All the skaters there were really, really good. They were in the Olympics and nationals.”
Christiano thanked her and Raffo’s coaches, Jane Symons and Dave Hallows from Minden, and Marg Hadley from Fenelon Falls, for all the time and work they put in with the pair.
MATTHEW DESROSIERS is the editor of The Highlander.