Figure skaters gear up for Alberta Winter Games

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When the 2018 Alberta Winter Games get underway in Wood Buffalo, Alta., Feb. 16 to 18, the figure skating field will have an Airdrie vibe.

Airdrie’s Brooke McAvena, 17, Halle Reid, 14, and Jillian Spratt, 12, will take to the ice during the biennial event in hopes of bringing home a medal.

Although the three are all at different ages and levels, they each said it will be an advantage to go to Wood Buffalo together.

“I feel like I might be the team mom because I am the oldest, but it is good to know people (who are) going,” McAvena said. “Last time I went, I was younger, almost the youngest girls out there, and I didn’t know anyone.”

McAvena is only Airdrie skater with prior experience at the winter games. At the 2014 event in Banff and Canmore, she brought home a bronze medal.

This year, the Alberta Winter Games increased its categories, bringing the novice level into the fold and providing McAvena the opportunity to compete one last time.

McAvena said she hasn’t had the strongest season, and is intent on using her experience to bring home a medal.

“I’m quite relieved. I didn’t get to make it to sectionals this year, so I needed something to look forward to and that was the winter games,” McAvena said. “This has been my goal all season.”

Reid and Spratt will be competing in the Star 6 and Star 5 events respectively.

As both first-timers eagerly anticipate making their debuts, the atmosphere of the games has the young athletes buzzing.

“I look forward to experience and meeting new people,” Reid said.

“(When I qualified) I was ecstatic, I was so happy. Once I found out Brooke and Jillian made it, I knew this was going to be fun.”

Along with eager anticipation come the nerves of competing against some of the best skaters from across the province.

“It’s making me nervous, but more excited as the days progress,” Spratt said. “Since I (qualified) for Alberta Winter Games with the second highest score in my category, I am praying and think I have it in myself to bring home a medal.”

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