The U.S. International Figure Skating Classic will take place in Salt Lake City from September 12 through September 16, 2012.
In addition to senior level elite skaters from all over the world participating in the event, at the same time U.S. Figure Skating is hosting the inaugural U.S. Challenge Skate, a developmental competition featuring skaters competing at the novice and junior levels. The U.S. Challenge Skate will be held in conjunction with the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic competition and will also take place at the Salt Lake City International Sports Complex.
“U.S. Challenge Skate is an event we developed specifically for promising young athletes who are not officially named to Team USA. We want to provide an opportunity for athletes that have competed at the national level in intermediate, novice and junior to experience what an international competition is like. At the same time, they will have the opportunity to compete with other talented athletes from across the country,” said Kelly Vogtner, U.S. Figure Skating’s Senior Director of Athlete Development.
The skaters competing in Challenge Skate will experience everything they will eventually encounter at a Junior Grand Prix or Grand Prix of Figure Skating competition. An international panel will judge the competitors and participants get to wear team jackets. The skaters will sit in the Kiss and Cry area after they compete and will learn to interact with the media.
Several figure skaters who live and train in Colorado Springs have been invited to compete in either the U.S. International Figure Skating Classic or the U.S. Challenge Skate.
Some of the local skaters who are participating include:
- Max Aaron – Championship Men
- Agnes Zawadzki – Championship Ladies
- Melissa Bulanhagui – Championship Ladies
- Cheyenne Taylor – Novice Ladies
- Annabelle and Joel Schneider-Farris – Novice Pairs
- Sam Anderson – Novice Men
- Chase Belmontes – Junior Men
- Avery Kurtz – Junior Ladies
- Armin Mahbanoozadeh – Championship Men
- Lauren Leonesio and Quinn Chambers – Novice Dance
Figure skaters who competed in the 2012 U.S. Junior National Figure Skating Championships in Intermediate events or in the 2012 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships in the Novice and Junior events were invited to the Challenge Skate. Based on their placement at those competitions in 2012, the skaters were selected.
“My son, Sam, scored high at the US Junior National Figure Skating Championships in 2012,” says Hellene Anderson, the mother of Sam Anderson. “Based on his placement in Intermediate Men, he was invited to this competition.”
The novice and junior skaters who have been invited to the event are obviously very excited about participating.
“For me and my brother, Joel, this may be more fun and more exciting than competing in Junior Nationals. We’ve worked so hard all year and I can’t wait to try out our new programs and pair skating moves at the competition,” says Annabelle Schneider-Farris. “I imagine some of the friends I made at Junior Nationals will also be competing.. It’s going to be a great experience and I can’t wait to get a team jacket!”
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