Williston skater advances in regional competition (10/29/09)

Emily Young places second, qualifies for sectional

Oct. 29, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Emily Young glided to a second-place finish in a competition featuring the region’s best figure skaters, a successful first step in her quest to reach the national championships.

Young, 18, from Williston, competed in the senior ladies division of the New England Regional Figure Skating Championships held Oct. 21-25 at Leddy Park Arena in Burlington.

Young said her performance in the short program on Saturday was far from flawless. Still, it was good enough for third place leading up to the free skate the next day.

Young went last in the free skate, watching 18 other competitors perform before she stepped on the ice. She said the long wait jangled her nerves.

She fell on her first triple jump. But Young said she hit the rest of her jumps, saving some shaky landings. She finished behind only Alexandra Volpicelli from the Skating Club of Boston.

“In the end I fought hard in my free skate and put together a better program,” Young said.

The top four skaters in each division move on to the eastern sectionals, to be held next month in Delaware. The best four finishers in that competition qualify for the U.S. Championships in Spokane, Wash. in January and could earn a place on the U.S. Olympic Team.

Young, who grew up in Williston, has lived a nomadic existence the past few years to work with the best coaches and compete against top skaters. She currently lives in the Boston area.

Young said before the regional that she was thrilled to return home to perform in front of family and friends. Her parents, Todd and Elizabeth, and younger sister, Andrea, still live in Williston.

This season marks Young’s second run at the national championship. Young placed first in the novice division in the regional competition two years ago, then placed fourth in the sectionals. That qualified her for the nationals, where she finished eighth.

Injuries hobbled her last year. But Young has done well in 2009, winning a competition in Dallas as well before the runner-up finish in last weekend’s regionals.

Earlier this month, Young said  her goal was to return to the national championship. This season could be her last chance to devote so much time to skating because she plans to attend college next year.

Young said she is thinking about participating in skating shows and competing at the collegiate level. But she hinted that her plans could change if she skates exceptionally well over the next couple of months.

“It depends on how I to do in the sectionals,” she said. “If I keep going after that, who knows?”