Hampole fired up after Detroit figure skating meet

Justin Hampole finally had a day off Monday.

He deserved it after a 20-hour travel day Sunday, returning from Detroit to Prince George, finally arriving at midnight.

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Hampole, 13, was in Detroit for the 34th annual Skate Detroit figure skating meet, his first international competition, where he competed in the novice men's division.

After his short program Thursday where he placed 10th out of 36 skaters with a personal-best score of 38.24 points, Hampole - who skates out of the Northern B.C. Centre for Skating - scored 99.12 points in his long program, a result put him 13th. When his scores were combined, he finished 11th overall.

His long program included a double Lutz, double-loop, double-loop jump combination which he landed. He fell on his first triple Salchow, but nailed the second one.

"I was really happy to get the first triple done in competition," said Hampole, who was back on the ice Tuesday at the Coliseum. "I was pretty happy with my skate but there's a lot to improve on. It was one of the most amazing competitions I've been to. Overall it was a great experience to see how they run the competition. I had so much fun and it was good to see all of my friends."

Hampole's coach Rory Allen, NBCCS's director of skating, said his pupil just over-rotated the double-double-double jump combination, one that skaters are allowed to execute in the U.S.

"That was his first time trying that combination," said Allen. "He's grown so fast in the last six months that his bones are growing faster than his muscles, which has resulted in some back issues. Those doubles just kind of jarred him. After he fell on his first triple, he showed a lot of character, self-corrected and landed the second one. It's great to see athletes fix themselves and it was rewarding for me."

Toronto's Stephen Gogolev captured the novice men's title with 158 points after a long program packed with triple jumps. Gogolev won the pre-novice men's gold medal at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George. Hampole claimed the bronze medal in the same event.

Since the U.S. does not have age restrictions on its levels, Hampole, in his first year as a novice and in only his second meet as a novice, competed against boys as old as 18.

The next event for Hampole and a contingent of eight NBCCS skaters is B.C. Summer Skate, Aug. 13-16 in Burnaby.

"I'm going to work on the technical side, on my triples," said Hampole. "I'll try different ones besides the Salchow."

Allen said everyone at the club is inspired by Hampole and his success in the last year, which bodes well for the future.

"It just takes one to break out," he said. "They all want to do what Justin's doing and that's also being a role model as an adult. It's a huge expectation to have but he takes that role very seriously."

Allen too learned a lot in Detroit after seeing some of the best skaters in North America. He realized all the skaters in Prince George need to get faster and improve on their speed.

Besides provincials this fall in Coquitlam, the club has its sights set on the Challenge Cup (formerly known as junior nationals) in Edmonton in December. If Hampole has a good skate there, he could qualify for the 2016 Canadian senior championships in Halifax in January.

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