First step to figure skating glory |

First step to figure skating glory

BRECKENRIDGE – Three local girls will represent the Summit Figure Skating Club this week at the Southwestern Regional Championships in Kansas City, Kan. It is the first rung of competition on the ladder to Junior Nationals, which is the yearly goal for young American skaters.

Twin sisters Alanna and Jessica Gisondo, 16, moved to Summit County last year from Florida and have one year of regional competition under their belts, although it was in a different region. They moved up from intermediate to novice (yes, from intermediate to novice) this season and hope to qualify out of regionals to sectionals and Junior Nationals.

The twins figure they’ll need to skate to near perfection to be one of the four skaters in their division to advance to sectionals.

“It’s not gonna be easy. But at my best, I could do it,” Jessica said.

“This year I feel much more confident. Last year I was just very lost, but this year I feel really good going there.”

The twins have the backing of new coach, Larisa Gendernalik, who is the skating director at the Stephen C. West Ice Arena. Gendernalik will make the trip to Kansas City and will be there every step of the way during the competition.

The coach and skaters were due to leave for the week-long event today. The early part of the week will be dedicated to practice; the competition starts Wednesday with the long program.

The skaters need to qualify out of the long program to be able to skate in the short program. Then, the combined scores will count toward an overall score.

The twins will be up against about 120 novice skaters. About 700 skaters will compete in all.

“Regionals is a competition that puts everything into perspective,” Alanna said. “If you do bad, it’s gonna motivate you like nothing else will. And if you do good, it has major rewards.”

The third member of the club making the trip is 9-year-old Roxanna Schmidt. Schmidt will compete as a pre-juvenile with the backing of her coach, longtime Summit resident Sandy Baker.

Schmidt’s trip is more an investment in the future than a step on the competitive ladder. At her level, skaters can’t move on to sectionals. But when she moves up to juveniles next year, she’ll be eligible to advance and she’ll already have a year of regional experience to draw from.

Schmidt will leave Monday and will compete Thursday in the long program.

“I’m just gonna go out and do my best,” she said. “I don’t really know what’s gonna happen.”

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