Virden’s Megan Dryden and her pairs skating partner are preparing to take on a big challenge.
The 11-year-old daughter of Vicki and Marshall Dryden has, along with partner Wyatt James, earned the opportunity to compete in the Skate Canada Challenge competition in Edmonton. At the prestigious Nov. 27-Dec. 1 event, competitors in certain categories can qualify for the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Mississauga in January.
Skate Virden’s Dryden and James of the Carman Skating Club earned their spot by winning the pre-novice pairs title at the provincial championships.
“Going to Skate Canada Challenge was one of our goals this year,” said Dryden, a Grade 6 student at Virden Junior High. “I am really excited for the experience that Wyatt and I will get in Edmonton in November. We have competed all year in pre-novice pairs against the same pairs team, so it will be exciting to see how we do against other pairs teams in Canada. I also can not wait to see the other levels of pairs skaters.”
Virden’s Patty Hole, who coaches them along with Jody James, said it was a big accomplishment for the duo to win provincials. They have been skating together for not quite a year and a half.
“They could be a very good team down the road. They are young,” Hole said. “He’s a very strong boy. … Megan loves to perform.”
James travels two and a half hours each way to skate twice a week. Hole praised the dedication of both athletes.
“I love skating pairs with Wyatt James,” Dryden said. “He is so much fun to work with. He is hardworking and dedicated. Wyatt makes training fun with his humor and positive attitude. We are learning this crazy sport together and I am excited to see where we go in the future. He is a great skater and a good friend.”
At the provincials, Dryden not only won the pre-novice pairs title, but the juvenile women singles championship as well. Hole said that the increased ice time with competing in pairs has helped Dryden improve. As well, the coach noted that she landed all of her double jumps in provincials.
“Singles skating is fun - being able to show off what I have learned all year, and having the ice all to myself,” Dryden said. “Singles skating is very different than pairs ... it’s just me out there! I was most pleased with how I finished. It wasn't my personal best score but I was able to land a double Lutz for the first time in competition, which was awesome.”
At the Skate Canada Challenge, Hole will also be coaching novice women singles skater Breken Brezden and the junior pairs team of Shallen Bear and Marty Haubrich. Brezden competes for Skate Dauphin and won her category at provincials.
“She’s a kid if you push her and put something big in front of her, she has to step up,” Hole said in praise of Brezden.
Bear of the Whitewood Figure Skating Club and Haubrich of Skate Esterhazy finished second at the Saskatchewan provincials last weekend. Also, at that competition, another one of Hole’s skaters, Ashley Bochek of the Moosomin Skating Club, placed third in pre-novice women singles.