Hometown product Megan Dryden and other skaters with Virden connections took on a big challenge last weekend.
Dryden and partner Wyatt James as well as the pairs team of Shallen Bear and Marty Haubrich and singles skater Breken Brezden competed in the Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton. In certain categories, the event was a qualifier for the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in Mississauga in January.
Virden’s Patty Hole, who coaches all of them, said the prestigious event allowed her developing skaters to gain experience as they all had moved up a level this season.
“Challenge was so exciting,” said Dryden, the 11-year-old daughter of Vicki and Marshall Dryden. “There was so much to learn. It was a great experience and being out there skating with all the other pairs teams was so much fun!”
Dryden, who represents Skate Virden, and James competed in pre-novice pairs. They posted a short program score of 19.70 and earned 32.43 in the free skate. The duo placed 10th in Canada. Regarding the Challenge, Hole said, “This is just the beginning for them.”
Dryden said, “Our goal is to go back next year better than ever with new tricks. We are committed to be the best we can be as a team.”
James represents the Carman Skating Club and travels two and a half hours each way twice a week to train with Dryden. They have only been skating together about a year and a half but were this year’s provincial champs.
Bear, who is from Whitewood, and Dubuc’s Haubrich had scores of 36.59 in the short and 59.77 in the long program in junior pairs. They will compete at nationals, which are held Jan. 13-19. Bear and Haubrich also competed at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships last year. When asked about skating in high level events, Bear said:
“For me, I love to compete in general, but when we get to compete in front of a bigger crowd with higher levels of skating like Challenge, that’s always a rush for me. I’ve always liked to compete, but it’s a different kind of nerves when you get to the bigger competitions, the adrenaline is always going, people are always watching, higher levels mean higher expectations.”
Brezden posted a 27.03 in the short program and 42.68 in the free skate in the novice women’s category.
“Although I did not have the skates I wanted, I took a lot away from this experience and I hope it will help me to improve going forward,” she said. “Also, I had lots of fun with my teammates and they all helped make the experience that much better.”
Brezden competes for Skate Dauphin. She commutes from that community to train with Hole.
“Patty is a great coach and she has taught me so much,” she said. “One of the many reasons I like training with her is because she pushes me to be my best and try new things, plus the teammates we have in Virden are just great.”