Pair to compete at figure skating nationals event

A pair of local figure skaters have qualified to compete at the Canadian National Championships in the Novice category. Lucas Pallard, 18, from Nanaimo, and partner Sarah Kedves, 14, from Ladysmith, will travel to Kingston, Ont., on Friday for the event.

The pair qualified after placing second at the sectional championships for B.C. and Yukon in Prince George on Oct. 2. That result earned them a place at the Canadian Challenge in Montreal on Dec. 3 where the top 12 pairs advance to Kingston. Kedves and Pallard finished 12th overall and will now face the other 11 pairs above them at nationals, scheduled for Jan. 20 and 21 next week.

Kedves said the pair is excited. "We’ve been training a lot harder since then [December]. We put around 17 hours into training every week," she said.

The pair train six days a week for three and a half hours each time out of Victoria, under the instruction of coach Matt Willis.

Kedves’ mom Alice says the two have ambitions to finish higher

than they did in Montreal.

"They messed up a spin in one of their programs which cost them about three places," she said. "The sad but exciting thing about figure skating at this level is that everyone is very good."

"They fly out on the 16th to help adjust to the time zone difference and then they have two days of practice skating, starting on Sunday, to get used to the high level environment of TV cameras, the big curtained off areas, and the hype of a nationally televised event," Alice said.

According to Kedves, the pair are not expecting too many surprises at nationals, because their coach has been preparing them for it.

"I don’t think it’s going to be that much different than Challenge. But our coach said the camera lights will be one thing that will be different."

The two will socialize with the likes of Patrick Chan with the country’s senior and junior athletes also in town for their version of nationals.

Pallard and Kedves found out Tuesday night that they are also finalists for the Nanaimo Sport Achievement award and will attend an awards night Feb. 13.