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Skaters launch season in Lake Placid

July 6, 2018
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Nearly 500 skaters filled the Olympic Center June 28 through July 1, making for an exciting weekend of competition for domestic and international skaters at the Lake Placid Figure Skating Championships. Singles and pairs disciplines were represented, with skaters from beginner to Senior level competing.

The Lake Placid Figure Skating Championships has traditionally been an important preseason competition, where skaters can practice their newly choreographed programs and gain feedback via scoring and seminars prior to the start of the qualifying season in the fall. For elite skaters, this Championships is just one of several prestigious non-qualifying competitions they participate in during the preseason.

There was an added incentive to compete in the Olympic Center this year because many of the skaters will participate in the North Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships at the same venue Oct. 17-21. If skaters qualify in regional competition, they move on to sectional and possibly national competition, from which they can further qualify for Olympic or world competition. This makes Lake Placid a starting point for future champions.

Article Photos

Kalina Saradeva skates to Stravinsky's Firebird during the 2018 Lake Placid Figure Skating Championships at the Olympic Center. 
Photo — Miracle Moments Photography

The Championships often boast a fine pedigree of international talent. In the Senior ladies short program event, for example, Alexia Paganini, representing the Swiss Skating Federation, and Netta Schrieber, of the Israel Ice Skating Federation, competed in Lake Placid. Paganini represented her country in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and Schreiber competed in two World Championships. They placed third and 10th, respectively. Skaters from Romania, Mexico and Canada also competed in various events throughout the weekend.

The Senior ladies event was uncharacteristically large, with more than 20 skaters vying for the title. Megan Wessenberg of the Skating Club of Boston skated away with the top prize, leading by nearly six points over second-place finisher Michelle Long of Canada. The third-place spot was earned by another Canadian, Valerie Giroux.

The Senior men's event was populated entirely by Canadian skaters. Bennet Toman placed first, followed by Nicholas Nadeau and Laurent Guay.

Champion skaters such as these are frequently evaluated by national and world level judges, along with elite officials who influence the direction of sport through US Figure Skating, the national governing body. Among those judging and/or officiating at the Championships were former US Figure Skating President Samuel Auxier, and newly elected US Figure Skating President, Anne Cammett. The officials were led by head referee Kathaleen Kelly, a current Skating Club of Lake Placid board member who lived and trained in Lake Placid and competed in multiple national championships representing the club.

Speaking of local skaters, three of the Skating Club of Lake Placid's young competitors took part in the event last week. Sisters Dominica and Kalina Sarandeva both placed third in Preliminary Girls Free Skate Group A and Pre-Preliminary Girls Free Skate Group A, respectively. The diminutive yet formidable young skaters are the daughters of Dr. Georg Sarandev and Rosie Sarandeva of Mountain Dental in Lake Placid. Dominica skated to "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman, while Kalina skated to "The Firebird" by Stravinsky.

The gold medal performance of the weekend for the club was skated by Carly Brox, who considers Lake Placid her second home and splits training time between Lake Placid and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where she resides.

"Before I got on the ice I was nervous because I had to skate second," Brox said. "But after I was done, I felt proud of what I just accomplished since all the hard work paid off."

Competing in Pre-Juvenile Girls Test Track Group C to music from the film Tangled, Brox had an excellent skate and looks forward to training to take her Novice Moves in the Field and Foxtrot ice dance tests, learning a new program for the upcoming season, and work on landing double jumps.

The Sarandevas and Brox can be seen practicing in the Olympic Center this summer, alongside the other many skaters participating in the Lake Placid Summer Figure Skating Camp.

The next skating event is the first Saturday Night Ice Show of the season on July 6 at 7:30 in the 1932 rink, featuring national pairs competitors Ashley Cain and Tim LeDuc, while the next competition is the Lake Placid Ice Dance Championships July 24-27.

For more information on the Lake Placid figure skating programs, including the events mentioned, visit their website at



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