Figure skating competition showcases young aspirants

Eighty skaters, ages 4 to 18, participate and shine at MV Ice Arena.

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The 2019 Vineyard Open and Skills Competition, featuring young skaters from 11 regional clubs, unfolded throughout Saturday afternoon at the Ice Arena before a sizable crowd of local and visiting fans. The event, the sixth consecutive and 17th overall since its inception in 1993, displayed the abilities of 78 girls and two boys in a wide range of age and skill categories.

Martha’s Vineyard Figure Skating Club president Jane Taylor sees the event as an opportunity for area skaters to perform and grow as competitors. But there’s a deeper significance as well. “To me, the Vineyard Open is a celebration of our skating club’s history and of our current program,” she said. “Many of our judges and officials go back to the Open’s early days. The event referee, Laura Days, competed as a skater in the very first Vineyard Open.”

It was a good day for this generation of Island skaters, eight of whom won gold medals on the day, including Clara Rabeni (Basic 4 Elements), Hydee Turner (Basic 5 Elements), Kelly Pacheco (Basic 6 Elements), Ellie Pennington (Pre-Free Skate Compulsory Moves), Amelia Russell-Schaeffer (Pre-Preliminary Compulsory Moves), Molly Crawford (Preliminary Compulsory Moves), Anina Garvin (Preliminary Showcase), and Ryan Giordano (Novice Moves in the Field, and Juvenile Freestyle).

Silver medals went to Maia Donnelly (Intermediate Moves in the Field) and Megan Zeilinger (Junior Moves in the Field). Maia Donnelly also earned a bronze medal in Intermediate Freestyle. 

In addition to performing individually, a group of Island skaters, under the moniker Vineyard Blades, closed out the day with a series of Team Compulsory Moves, as called out by an event official. For their effort, Laila Branca, Molly Crawford, Anina Garvin, and Penelope Thornton won gold medals in the Preliminary category, while Molly Carroll, Ryan Giordano, Avalon Weiland, and Megan Zeilinger earned gold at the Juvenile level.

On a side note, Molly Carroll passed her Preliminary Solo Ice Dances, the first Vineyard skater to pass these tests.

The Vineyard Blades were a worthy ending to an exciting day of challenge and achievement. As Jane Taylor put it, “From the officials to the coaches, to the skaters and their families, everyone’s heart was full by the end of the day.”