Laiken Richardson and Kate Boyes (Maple Ridge Skating Club/Special to The News)

Laiken Richardson and Kate Boyes (Maple Ridge Skating Club/Special to The News)

Maple Ridge skaters at national championships

Two local coaches part of junior synchronized skating team

Two Maple Ridge skaters are competing at the 2023 National Skating Championships in Oshawa, Ontario this week.

Kate Boyes and Laiken Richardson are both up-and-coming coaches with the Maple Ridge Skating Club, but are still competitive skaters with the Lower Mainland Synchronized Skating Club’s junior team.

“They’re both excellent skaters, and good team leaders,” said coach Danalee Harrison from Ontaro.

She explained that her junior skaters are aged 15-19, and the two Ridge women are about to “age out,” from team.

They skated the short program on Jan. 11, and were scheduled to skate the free program on Jan. 12.

Harrison noted they got a best-ever score on Wednesday, and they hope to qualify for an international competition.

“We need to skate our personal best, and represent B.C.,” she said.

Their trip to nationals comes at a time when synchro enjoyed the legitimacy of being included alongside the other figure skating disciplines for the first time, rather than being run as a separate event.

The Maple Ridge club members were all watching their coaches and friends compete, and president Jessica Rico said they were impressive after Wednesday’s skate.

“They were amazing. That was a pretty good skate – very clean and very energetic. They should be very proud,” she said.

“It’s a great experience, and not everyone gets the chance to go to nationals.”

Rico said the Maple Ridge club had four different synchronized skating teams at different levels, but they need to be rebuilt after they lost the skaters during the COVID-19 shutdown of sports.

“That’s the idea – and Kate and Laiken are skilled synchro coaches,” she said.

She said the coaches are also a great example of how a skating career doesn’t have to end with high school graduation.

Boyes started skating at MRSC at the age of three, and competed in the StarSkate and Artistic categories, as well as Synchronized Skating. Richardson started at the age of nine, and has many years of competitive experience in Freeskate, Artistic, and Synchronized Skating. The women are also building their coaching qualifications.

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