Just 36 other skaters from across the province qualified to compete in their respective classifications, Page in Star 5 over 13 women’s and Dénommé in Star 6 women’s.
“This is big for a small club,” said Rockland Figure Skating Club director Gail Malette. “We’re not a big competitive club, but we’re doing well. This kind of puts Rockland on the map.”
Despite coming from a small club and a small city, the two skaters proved their mettle against the best skaters from the province’s biggest metropolitan areas.
Young phenom reveals a bright future
Competing in a higher age group than the year before, Dénommé, who started skating competitively at six years old, cracked the top ten, placing ninth overall at this year’s event.
Malette, who is also Dénommé’s coach along with Kaitlan Cook, said the scores were so tight among the top competitors that fractions of points separated the top ten.
“I always told her if you can play top 10, that’s pretty impressive,” said Malette. “We are a small club. These kids don’t skate much. It’s not like we’re competing against kids from Toronto that skate seven days a week. Some of these kids only skate three or four days a week.”
Going up a category, Dénommé and her coaches weren’t expecting a provincial qualification this year. Instead, they were looking forward to another year of training and hoping to hit a few more doubles (jumping in the air and completing two full rotations before landing).
However, Dénommé found herself up against stiff competition and even tougher judges.
“I was very nervous,” said Dénommé. “I didn’t even really want to go on, but I went out there and just did the best I could.”
Dénommé hopes she can continue to improve during the off-season and qualify for the provincial competition next year as well, despite moving up to a more challenging category.
“You need better jumps,” said Dénommé. “Over the summer I hope I can land them consistently for next year.”
Though she once had dreams of Olympic gold, cooler heads have prevailed, and she now wants to make a career out of her love for skating. Dénommé dreams of working skate shows, like Disney on Ice, and perform for crowds across Canada.
An illustrious end to an amateur career
For Page, the competition was even more emotionally charged. As a second-year accounting student at the University of Ottawa, she decided 2023 would be her last year to compete for provincials so she can focus on school.
A decade since she last qualified, Page and her coach Caroline Coté set the goal of making it to the provincial competition one more time before hanging up the skates.
“I was not expecting to make my goal happen, but it felt really, really good,” said Page.
Having achieved her goal, Page was only a little nervous heading into the event and was just excited to have made it. But after landing her third jump, Page said a smile curled across her face, knowing she had done her best.
“I had a feeling that I did amazing. I knew I did my best. So, in the end, I was happy with numbers like whatever place I came in because I knew I did my best,” said Page.
And she was right. Page didn’t just reach her goal; she far exceeded it. Scoring a career high score, Page took first place in her category. f the ice I was in shock,” said Page. “And then once my coaches and I heard my score, we just started tearing up and started hugging each other.”
With a top place finish to her name, Page is looking forward to continuing to coach at her club and entering the odd competition.
“The whole club is proud of them,” said Malette. “And a huge shout-out to coaches Caroline and Kaitlan.”