Steamboat Springs Christian Heritage School sixth-grader Sara Pugh can't really remember why she started ice skating, but she's more than happy to share the reasons she continues.
"I love to compete, and I love to perform," Sara said. "Figure skating allows me to do both things."
This weekend, Sara, along with 17 other skaters from Steam--boat Springs, will travel to the final competition of the season in Fort Collins. Mini Team Volant, a synchronized skating team, also will compete at the event.
For Sara, this season has been a story of steady improvement. She opened in Pueblo on Feb. 17, where she placed third in compulsory moves, third in spins and fifth in the free skate. She improved her showing at the Denver Invitational, which was March 9 to 12 in Littleton, by finishing first in compulsory moves and fourth in the free skate.
But as Sara looks forward to her final meet of the season in Fort Collins this week, she says she isn't focused on the results.
"I'm just looking to do my best," Sara said.
The 12-year-old skater, who also loves to dance, is among a core of Steamboat athletes who have attended all three meets this season.
The skaters competed in divisions based on ability. Within those divisions the athletes often are broken into age categories. At competitions, the skaters are judged on compulsory moves, in which they are required to perform certain elements without music. They also are judged in a free skate program, in which the skaters perform a routine to music. In some cases, the skaters also are judged on spins.
The team's first meet took place Feb. 17 to 19 in Pueblo. Three skaters attended that meet.
Sara skated in the pre-preliminary level along with teammate Ellie Bender. Ellie was fourth in spins, fifth in free skate and sixth in compulsory moves. Kasey Brown, who drives from Craig to train with the Steamboat team, placed first in the free skate, sixth in spins and sixth in compulsory moves.
The Steamboat figure skating club took 10 skaters to the Denver Invitational March 9-12.
Top finishers included Kayla Haggarty, who earned a fourth-place finish in compulsory moves and fifth in the free skate in the Basic 2 Division. Her teammate Cassie Wilhelm placed fifth in the free skate and fifth in compulsory moves in the same division.
Amy Flavell placed second in compulsory moves and fifth in free skate in Basic 3, and Hanna Haggarty was second in the free skate and fifth in compulsory moves in Basic 4.
In the Pre-preliminary level, Sara and Ellese Lupori brought home first-place finishes in compulsory moves. Sara and Ellese also brought home fourth-place finishes in the free skate.
Molly Parsons placed second in the free skate and compulsory moves, Jane Spann was fifth in the free skate and fourth in compulsory moves, and Ellie was third in free skate and fourth in compulsory moves.
In the preliminary level, Kasey earned a fourth in the free skate, fourth in compulsory moves and third in spins.