From last year’s 10th place showing, Burnaby-trained Emily Bausback took the knowledge of what she needed to do to go far.
Last weekend, she delivered.
The 17-year-old Champs International Skating Centre of B.C. athlete nailed a championship-clinching free skate performance, leapfrogging from fourth overall to first and the title in the senior women’s 2020 Canadian Tire National skating championships in Mississauga, Ont.
Bausback proved spot-on with her routine performed to “My Heart Will Go On” from the film The Titanic, rising past a couple of more experienced skaters, like former national champion and Olympian Gabrielle Daleman, while leading a triumphant of teens to the podium.
Her score was a new personal best. When all was done, Bausback edged fellow 17-year-old Alison Schumacher, who with 168.94 points, and 16-year-old Madeline Schizas, at 168.07.
It was her third time at the senior level, with her debut in 2018 ending with a withdrawal due to injury.
In her free program, which came midway through the final group, Bauback completed five triples, including a double axel-triple toe combo and a triple flip-triple toe jump, en route to a top score of 116.64, nearly four-points up on eventual silver medalist Alison Schumacher. She had to wait for two other skaters to complete their routines before accepting the gold medal.
Bausback entered the final day trailing 19-year-old Alicia Pineault, Schizas and Daleman, a two-time Canadian champion who has faced numerous injuries and ailments over the past few years.
Although she stood fourth, the distance between the top-four was just a little more than four points, putting her within striking distance on the strength of a strong skate. And she delivered.
“I’m really glad I trusted my training throughout this whole competition and the entire season so far,” Bausback said, following Friday’s short program. “I worked a lot on my performance skills and projecting to the audience my story.”
With the win, Bausback now will represent Canada next month at the 2020 ISU Four Continents championships in Seoul, Korea.
She was coming off a terrific fall season, which saw the Vancouver native record a riveting personal best in the free program at the Warsaw Cup in Poland in November, where she placed sixth overall. It was also a nice stride ahead of last month’s solid fifth-place showing at the 2020 Skate Canada Challenge in Edmonton, where she and the field trailed Schizas when the last program had been performed.
Champs’ Emily Millard nearly followed a similar trajectory, placing second overall in the Junior Women’s division after a fourth-place start in the short program. The 15-year-old, in her first junior women’s competition, posted the second-best free skate at 92.64 points, giving her a total of 143.31. She trailed 13-year-old Albertan Kaiya Ruiter by 31 points.
At last year’s national championships, the North Van native finished third overall in women’s novice competition.
Sarah Tamura finished 17th overall.
Securing a bronze medal in the novice men’s event was Burnaby’s Brendan Wong. The teen recorded a tally of 129.79 points, just eight points back of champion John Kim of Ontario. Wong finished fourth in the short program (42.93) and third in the free skate (86.86). Right behind Wong was clubmate Shohei Law, who two events combined for 123.01 points and fourth spot.
Placing 11th in novice men’s was Terry Jin, with a point total of 97.39.
In junior men’s, Gabriel Blumenthal was a handful of points off a podium placing, winding up fourth overall after a strong free program. The Burnaby native stood sixth after the short skate, then secured the third-best score in the final skate to jump to fourth. A year ago he made his debut as a junior, finishing 12th.
Placing 10th overall was Shuma Mugii, with a combined point tally of 145.66.
In senior men's competition, Alexander Lawrence delivered a new personal best with his combined tally of 198.56, to place eighth.
Emma Szeto ended eighth overall in the novice women’s category, after posting the second-best score in her short program (45.43) and 10th (71.36) in the free skate.
A pair of dancing teams that also train at Champs earned identical fourth-place results.
The pairing of Haley Sales and Nikolas Wamsteeker stood fourth overall in the senior dance, with a grand point total of 176.82. In the novice dance, Hailey Yu and Brendan Giang, who also train at Inlet, racked up a point total of 97.07.