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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spokane lands regional ice skating contest

Consider it a sneak peek of the 2007 U.S. National Figure Skating Championships.

Four months before Spokane plays host to the big event, the Lilac City Figure Skating Club will host the Northwest Pacific Regional Figure Skating competition, club president Rita Ryan announced.

The event will bring about 350 skaters from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Alaska – peewees to seniors – to the Eagles Ice-A-Rena in October 2006.

The top skaters in the top four levels will advance to the Pacific Coast Sectional Competition, with an opportunity to qualify for the 2007 championships in January 2007, at the Spokane Arena. The championships are a nationally televised event.

The Lilac City Figure Skating Club last played host to the regionals in October 2000.

“It’s always a big thing,” Ryan said. “But this time, fanwise, they can become familiar with our own Northwest regional skaters in their quest to qualify for the national championships.”

Heading the list are Chris Anders and Kalie Budvarson, novice pairs from the Inland Northwest Figure Skating Club. The Coeur d’Alene skaters competed in the 2004 nationals in Portland, finishing 11th. Novice ladies Ashley Beekman, Jaime Gattung and Heidi Nelson are regional hopefuls.

There are nine regions in the U.S., which feed into four sectional competitions.