(July 16, 2003)
The first event of the 2003-2004 season was a successful one for Canadian skaters.
The first of four North American Challenge Skate (NACS) events was held July 10-13 in Lake Placid, NY. Canada sent a total of 13 entries, and the young Canadian team won four medals over the weekend, including two gold medals.
Finishing first in the Novice Ladies event was Myrian Samson. The 14-year-old St-Jean-sur-Richelieu native came from behind to capture the gold medal. She finished fourth in the short program, but had a very impressive free skate to claim the gold medal. In her free program, Samson executed her first-ever triple Lutz in competition. She also completed a triple Salchow and landed a second triple Lutz on two feet.
Placing second was Erika Smith of the United States, and winning the bronze medal was Stephanie Zastrow, also of the United States.
Ice Dancers Jordan McKenzie and Guillaume Gfeller were the other Canadian gold medallists at the event. McKenzie, 15, of Senneville, Que., and Gfeller, 18, of Lac Nominingue, Que., finished second in the original dance to the eventual silver medallists, Elizabeth Palmer and Ryland Stucke of the United States, but the young Canadians put on a great show in the free dance to take the gold medal.
Another Canadian team, Tanis Hurst, 16, and Jeffrey Stoveld, 16, both from Scarborough, Ont., skated well to win the bronze medal. Hurst and Stoveld were in fourth-place following the original dance, but they also skated a strong free dance. The duo second in the free dance, earning three first-place ordinals from the judges, which placed them third overall.
Also medalling for Canada was Matt McEwan, who won the silver medal in the Junior Men's event. McEwan, 14, of Surrey, B.C., is the silver medallist from the Novice Men's event at the 2003 BMO Financial Group Skate Canada Junior Nationals. After placing second in the short program, McEwan went on to put down a strong performance to hold on to the silver medal following the free skate.
McEwan finished behind Colin Pennington of the United States, who took home the gold medal. Finishing third was Pennington's teammate, David Weintraub.
The next two NACS events will be held July 31-Aug. 3 in Edmonton, Alta. and Mentor, Ohio.