Tristan Taylor, originally from Wolseley, and his skating partner Ashlyn Schmitz attended the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championship in Calgary last week.
Taylor, age 20, and Schmitz, age 16, have been skating together for a few years, training with Dave and Vicki Schultz in Regina. They earned silver in the novice category of the 2020 national competition and then won gold at two junior competitions late last year, the Ice Challenge in Austria and the Skate Canada Challenge in Winnipeg.
During the National Skating Championships in January, the pair finished in fourth place and qualified for the 2023 World Juniors. They were one of 14 pairs from around the globe who joined other skaters for the competition at WinSport Arena in Calgary, Feb. 27 to March 5.
The Saskatchewan pair’s debut at the World Junior event began with a short program last Wednesday, followed by a free skate on Thursday evening. Taylor and Schmitz had a clean skate with a lift and double axels during the short program, which earned their season-best score of 45.83 and qualified them for the next event. A fall after a triple salchow resulted in a point deduction leaving them with a score of 73.09 after the free skate. This put them in eleventh place; American skaters Daniel Tioumentsev and Sophia Baram took first place in both events with 66.95 for the short program and 116.52 in the free skate.
“It’s a big event; there’s a lot going on, you can feel it,” Coach Dave Schultz encouraged the young Saskatchewan athletes afterwards. “It’s a big stage environment and sometimes it gets away from you a little bit, but it was a respectable program.”