Carleton hosts first OUA figure skating competition

The Carleton Ice House stands were packed on Nov. 23, as the Ravens competitive figure skating club hosted the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Fall Invitational. The competition was the first invitational ever to be hosted at Carleton.

Led by head coach Laura Kilpatrick, the Ravens’ program consists of 29 skaters overall, 21 of which are competitive skaters. The Ravens hosted 10 visiting universities from across Ontario at the invitational.

“Being able to show where we train and what our department is like here, and also to see the girls on the team act as the representatives for the school [was a proud moment],” Kilpatrick said.

The day-long competition consisted of 11 events, a mixture of free-skate and dance-skate events, along with a panel of 17 Skate Ontario judges.

Second-year skater Merissa Lompart placed sixth overall in the novice short program. She said she was proud of her overall performance and strong start to the season.

“I was really happy with it. I did all of the jumps and I did the rest of the program to the best of my ability, [but] there is still room for improvement for the winter season and OUAs,” Lompart said.

Other Ravens highlights included a strong skate by Jenna Hooch-Antink, a fourth-year commerce student.

Hosting the invitational was a long process for the club and took many hours of  planning.

“This is the first time we’ve ever hosted a skating event on campus. There were a lot of logistical issues we had to figure out prior. So, it’s been a six-month process,”  Kilpatrick said, who added that she believes the months of planning were worth the effort. “It was awesome to be able to have the 10 visiting teams come to Carleton and just to be able to go out on the ice and skate.”

Competing on home ice brought a level of comfort to the Ravens skaters.

“It’s a lot less stressful getting to the competition in the morning, because it’s like a normal practice day,” Lompart said.

She added the competition was a loud, supportive environment. Thunderous cheering and clapping from all 10 teams filled the Ice House as skaters performed.

“At university [level figure] skating everybody is happy that everybody is still skating, it’s like a big family reunion to be honest. It is a much lighter, happier and more supportive environment,” Lompart said.

According to Kilpatrick, training intensity was amped up in preparation for competition. The club trains for two hours, four times a week, with off-ice conditioning sessions as well.

Kilpatrick said she was very proud of how the skaters represented Carleton at the invitational.

The figure skating club’s next competition will be in January at the University of Toronto.