Record number of skaters head to invitational

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— Twenty-four figure skaters from Steamboat Springs will compete March 15-17 at the Denver Invitational.

"That's the most we have ever taken," coach Kim Haggarty said. "I think I took 12 last year at the most."

Haggarty said the number of Steamboat Springs' figure skaters who are headed to these regional competitions is the result of a maturing program. While the number of skaters in the Steamboat club has remained pretty consistent at about 53, the number of those headed to major competitions has increased.

The Denver Invitational will feature the top skaters in the state as well as a few from Kansas and Nebraska in an elite-level event. Haggarty said there will be about 350 skaters and the level of skating will be very high.

Many local figure skaters have just returned from the Colorado Mid-Winter Invitational, which was held Feb. 15-17 in Pueblo.

Haggarty said 29 Steamboat Springs skaters competed in the mid-winter event, which was a record for the club.

"That was the largest number of skaters we've ever had compete in one competition," Haggarty said.

Team Volant took first place in the team synchronized skating event. Carlee McLaughlin (spins), Carly Earp (compulsory, free skate), MacKenzie Frank (compulsory), Kelly Ascher (spins), Alex Morrison (free skate) Allison Lewis (compulsory), Sarah Pugh (free skate) and Marilyn Harris (compulsory, free skate) all earned first-place finishes at the event.

The skaters competed in pre-preliminary, preliminary, pre-juvenile, juvenile, intermediate and basic skills divisions at the competition.

Most of those same skaters will make the trip to Denver, but Haggarty said the Denver Invitational would not offer any basic skills competitions, reducing the Steamboat contingent by about seven skaters.

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