Thursday, February 25, 2010

Saving their best for last: Gryphons repeat as OUA figure skating champions

For the second consecutive year, the Guelph Gryphons figure skating team are the OUA Champions.

The Gryphons team went right down to the wire in their quest to repeat as the province’s best and after Wednesday’s first day of events, the anxious Gryphons sat in third place going into last Thursday’s finals, trailing Waterloo by three and Western by just two.

And still lagging in the overall standings going into the final two events, the Gryphons needed a pair of incredible performances to knock of the first-place Western Mustangs and reclaim the provincial throne.

And in the final two events, the Gryphons displays were just that. Incredible.

Krista Ricciati and Tessa Mailling finished on top of the senior similar pairs and in the final event of the two-day spectacle at RIM Park in Waterloo, the Gryphons won the synchronized team event to secure the overall title.

With 78 points, the Gryphons finished with a mere seven-point advantage over the silver medalists from Western. Waterloo finished third overall with 61.

Ricciati and Mailling were by no means the only Gryphons to medal at the provincial championships. From the first day forward, a number of Gryphon women found themselves on the podium, led by gold medal performances by Laura Barbison and Ariel Porty in the senior silver similar dance, and Rebecca Wilkes and Christine Kucava in bronze rhythm dance fours. These six gold medal winning women were also rewarded with nominations to the OUA all-star team. It was the second consecutive all-star nomination for Barbison and Porty who were both gold medalists in 2008-09 as well.

Charlotte Drewett took silver in the senior silver free skate, while Wilkes and Kucava returned to the podium with a silver medal in the STARSkate gold creative dance. Sandra McCubbin was the fourth Gryphon silver medalist in the senior silver solo dance.

Mailling also picked up her second medal of the championships when she, Laura Stratton, Lauren Black and Charlotte Hoyle won bronze in the pairs fours.

The overall title was the third time in their history that the Gryphons have landed atop the overall podium as well as the third consecutive year that they have been in the top two.
For her efforts, Gryphons head coach Janet Gibson received her second OUA Coach of the Year award in the past three seasons as she has remarkably turned the program around in her five years of leading the team.

The Gryphons have been among the OUA’s best teams all season, taking overall silver medals at both the Ryerson and Queen’s Invitationals. Last week’s performance in Waterloo, however, proved that this remarkably talented team was saving its best results for the finale.

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