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Figure skaters arrive at Games in full force

February 5, 2019
By CHRISTIE SAUSA - Correspondent , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - An impressive sight during any Empire State Winter Games opening ceremony is the huge crowd of figure skaters pouring into the 1980 Herb Brooks Arena, proudly representing their sport and looking forward to competing in the Olympic Center.

This year was no exception.

Usually the largest sport represented at the games, several hundred figure skaters from the eastern United States and Canada competed in freestyle, ice dancing and synchronized skating Feb. 1-3 in the Olympic Center.

Article Photos

Kalina Sarandeva performs during the Empire State Winter Games figure skating competitions at the Olympic Center in Lake Placid.
Provided photo — Christie Sausa

The Empire State Winter Games is one of several events favored by local skaters to practice competing, and for many it is the pinnacle of their competitive season.

Local skaters who represented the Skating Club of Lake Placid included Brooke Beaney, Ireland Cassidy, Brenna DeWalt, Abigail Gavin, Ellen Lansing, Alexa Roberts, Dominica Sarandeva, Marlena Sharp, Teagan Wentzel and the Crystal Edges Synchronized Skating Team.

Competitors from the Skating Club of Lake Placid who medaled in their respective events included Alea Abodeely (second, Beginner Girls Excel), Carly Brox (second, Pre-Juvenile Girls Excel), Brynn Haran (second, Beginner Girls Excel), Reid Pedu (second, Beginner Girls Excel), Kalina Sarandeva, (first, Preliminary Girls), Darya Stoughtenger (third, Pre-Preliminary Girls Excel) and Megan Quinn (third, Pre-Juvenile Girls).

Local skaters competing on behalf of the Tupper Lake Figure Skating Club, which also trains in Lake Placid, included Elli Dukett, Kiera Levitt (third, Juvenile Girls Excel), Sarah Higgins (first, Pre-Preliminary Girls Excel), Leah Whalen, Megan Wilson and Lisa Wilson.

Kalina Sarandeva is a 9-year-old, who with her sister Dominica trains at home in Lake Placid with Tracy Prussack and Annmary Bouchard, and also in Los Angeles, California, and Tampa, Florida.

"(My performance was) awesome, because I had a clean skate," Sarandeva said. "I landed all my jumps and this was my best run through. I was little scared in the beginning, because I had to skate first in my group.

"My favorite part of training in Lake Placid is skating in the Olympic Center on Olympic ice and performing for the people in town that I know."

Perhaps the greatest component of the Empire State Winter Games for many competitors was the opportunity to gather with other skating friends. Carly Brox, who is originally from Canada but commutes to Lake Placid to practice and train with the Skating Club of Lake Placid's Katrina Kroha and Brooke O'Neill, considers that experience more valuable than just winning a medal.

"This is my eighth year (competing in the Empire State Winter Games)," Brox said. "I look forward to this event every year as I get to see my friends from all over New York State."

For more information on Empire State Winter Games, including results, visit e at



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