Mostert double medal hopeful at nationals
St. Albert figure skater will perform in junior men and novice pairs
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 06:00 am
Chris Mostert is skating towards the national medal podium as the Alberta sectional junior men’s champion.
Mostert, 17, will also compete in novice pairs with Taylor LeClaire of Tofield at the Canadian figure skating championships, starting Sunday in Mississauga, Ont.
“For junior men my goal is top 10 and for pairs our goal is the bronze medal,” said the Grade 12 Paul Kane High School student.
Last year at nationals Mostert placed 10th in novice men and was ninth in novice dance with partner Christina Penkov.
The St. Albert athlete recently teamed up with LeClaire in pairs after five years with Penkov, highlighted by a bronze-medal finish in pre-novice dance at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
“We knew each other so well and understood each other and our movements so much, so switching to another partner was fairly hard and then switching a discipline was hard too,” Mostert said.
The Ice Palace Figure Skating Club duo punched their tickets to nationals with a fourth-place showing at the Skate Canada Challenge last year in Regina.
LeClaire, 15, is also the Alberta sectional novice women’s champion and placed seventh at the Skate Canada Challenge.
“We both have really strong skating skills so that certainly helps us to get better marks if our elements are not that good,” Mostert said. “It’s not just all about the elements, it’s also about choreography and the skating and the interpretation to the music and that’s both where we excel in skating.”
It’s been a work in progress for Mostert getting up to speed in pairs.
“It’s is a new area for me and they’re still trying to teach me how everything works. I have no idea what the competition is like. I just do what I’m told at this stage,” he said. “There will be a short and long (program) and they consist of lifts, side by side spins, a spin where we’re connected, side by side jumps, throws where I throw her and she does a jump, and footwork.
“Both singles and pairs are equally challenging, but pairs is harder on you.”
Mostert’s biggest accomplishments in the sport were in dance until he finished ahead of Drew Wolfe of the Glencoe Club by less than a point to win the Alberta-NWT/Nunavut sectional championship last year in Edmonton.
Cole VanDerVelden of St. Albert placed third representing the Royal Glenora Club.
“It was absolutely huge because I had never won provincials before in singles. I’ve been top out of the province at nationals before but I never actually was a provincial champion so that was certainly a nice name to have coming out of that,” Mostert said. “I can’t even describe how shocked I was and how surprised I was that I won. One of the competitors (Wolfe) got seventh at nationals in junior last year so I was really expecting to come third.”
Mostert’s short program is about 2:50 minutes long and was choreographed in April of 2011. His free program “is a grueling 4:10 minutes” that was put together in June.
“I’ve had them for quite a while and training in both them quite a lot.”
His triple toe jump is the best of the bunch for high marks from the judges.
“I was working on my jumps earlier in the season but right now I’m working on making the jumps I have more consistent,” he said. “You really have to skate clean, because if you don’t there is low chances of getting a really good mark. You have to probably land all your jumps, maybe miss one out of the 12 or 11 jumps that we do, and if you fall too many times your hopes are gone for a good mark.”
At the Skate Canada Challenge, where the top four in every event from every province battle to finish top 18 for spots at nationals, Mostert placed 16th overall.
“I did how I was hoping to do. I could’ve certainly done better. I didn’t exceed my expectations but it certainly helped me to look to where I need to train more and what to improve for nationals.”
Mostert trains three to five hours a day six days a week.
“It’s fairly exhausting. I go to school and then I go to skating. When I come home I have maybe an hour or two before I have to go to bed and I use that time to do my homework or study. Sometimes if I’m lucky I won’t have anything and I can just relax, but those days are not common.”
Mostert started figure skating at age six on the advice of a doctor because he was pigeon-toed. He grew up in Fort Nelson, B.C. before moving in the summer of Grade 7 after the roof of his hometown arena collapsed. This is his sixth year with the Ice Palace club at West Edmonton Mall.
“I love the speed and the flow of figure skating. I just love it all.”
ICE CHIPS: VanDerVelden, 19, earned his fifth trip to nationals by placing 15th at the Skate Canada Challenge in junior men. Last year at nationals the Bellerose Composite High School graduate finished 12th in junior men and in novice pairs with Kendra Digness of Stony Plain placed sixth. The duo were silver medallists in pre-novice pairs at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.