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Lake Placid skaters take next step with success at regionals
October 11, 2017

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LAKE PLACID - The Regional Figure Skating Championships have always been the first step toward national and international competition. Every major figure skating star has had to pass through the gateway of several qualifiers before reaching the coveted National Championships, and hopefully, on to the Olympics or World Championships.

Each region has a Regional Championships for their skaters to participate in, followed by a sectional competition that encompasses a broader section of the geographical area. Regional championships now include both qualifying and non-qualifying events, so there are more skaters participating in recent years than ever before.

This year's North Atlantic Regional Figure Skating Championships took place Oct. 4-8 at the Ice House arena in Hackensack, New Jersey, and four Skating Club of Lake Placid skaters participated in the qualifying events: Annmary Bouchard, Jacob DeWolfe, Sandra Harper and Cierra Nelson.

Bouchard, who trains in Montreal and Lake Placid, competed in the Senior Ladies division and earned a score of 65.74. She placed in the top 20 in an extremely large and competitive field.

Bouchard staged a comeback this season after not competing in the Regional Championships for six years and dropping out of the last two due to injury and health issues. Despite attending Concordia University for industrial engineering, Bouchard still made time to train, teaching herself in Montreal and taking lessons from her coaches: 1984 Olympic bronze medalists in pairs, Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov, when they were in Lake Placid this summer. Bouchard felt the event was interesting to experience again.

"This year in particular, I started training again for fun since I'm slowly starting to coach and I have two Canadian freestyle tests to finish," Bouchard said. "In the middle of August, I decided to do regionals again as a challenge to see what it would feel like to compete again. It was a lot scarier than I thought it was going to be, but it was interesting to re-experience it being older and having more maturity."

Joining Bouchard in the Senior Ladies event was Cierra Nelson, who earned 84.88 points and placed in the top 20. Nelson is originally from California, but has been a proud member of the Skating Club of Lake Placid for several years.

Harper competed in Novice Ladies Qualifying Round Group B and earned 37.42 to place 11th overall. She is now training in the Olympic Center once again after moving back from Ohio this year.

DeWolfe, originally of California, competed in the Junior Men's event. Due to a small amount of entries in the event, he will automatically advance to the next qualifying event: the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships in Boxborough, Massachusetts Nov. 15-19.

For more information on the Regional Championships, including complete results for all events, visit icenetwork.com.

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