PORT McNEILL — Karly Dutcyvich, Whitney Murgatroyd and Brenna Jardine each claimed gold medals Saturday as the Port McNeill Figure Skating Club enjoyed an unqualified success as first-time hosts of the Barbara Rasmussen Memorial Figure Skating Competition.
The 35th annual competition, held in Courtenay through its first 34 years, drew 115 skaters from seven Vancouver Island clubs to Chilton Regional Arena.
A small army of parents and other volunteers from the local club configured the arena for the competition and transformed the image room upstairs with an awards podium and backdrop.
A shortage of volunteers in the Comox Valley this season had threatened the event with its first break since it began in 1977. The Port McNeill club was initially approached about hosting the competition in Courtenay, but due to logistics and travel opted instead to bring the event here.
Rasmussen was a longtime figure skating coach on the North Island, who coached in Port Hardy, Port Alice and Port McNeill as well as the Comox Valley before losing her life in an automobile accident.
Current Port McNeill Figure Skating Club coach Elizebeth Kines was a student of Rasmussen’s and was injured in the same accident. Local club officials cited the importance of the competition to Kines as a major reason for taking it on this year.
The club is not expected to host the Rasmussen event next year, as it will be presenting its bi-annual Ice Carnival in 2012.
On Saturday, Dutcyvich won top honours in the Senior Bronze women’s division; Murgatroyd won the Preliminary Women’s 11&over title; and Jardine, of Port Hardy, claimed the top spot in Canskate Group 3.
Silver medals for the Port McNeill club went to Lexie Murgatroyd in a large Pre-preliminary women’s 9-11 division; to Sidney Hamilton in Preliminary Women 11-over; to Mikayla Walton in Junior bronze women 13-over; to Rebecca Griffith in Canskate Group 6; to Lisa Cochrane in Junior silver women’s competition; and to Alyssa Rowe in the gold women’s skate.
Bronze winners were Carley Bobb, Saiya Gachter, Port Hardy’s Alyssa Busch and Alison Gurney.