Saturday February 16, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Ashton Goyette's day started really early.

"I woke up and it was like, ‘Oh my God, it's 6 o'clock. Why am I up this early?' " said the 13-year old figure skater from Adams. "I'm never up this early for skating."

Goyette's early wake-up call was to get her to Lansing Chapman Rink for her competition in the 28th Bay State Winter Games on Friday. It all worked out well for the Hoosac Valley eighth grader, who earned a silver medal in the U.S. Figure Skating Association Juvenile Girls Test Track Freeskate A Division.

"I think that it helped, because you're here and you get all excited," said Goyette. "Now my day is like, I have time to do whatever I want to."

Goyette's group took to the ice for competition at 9:30 a.m., the first of 12 USFSA and 12 Institute of Ice Skating Institute events. Figure skating events will continue today and Sunday here.

Goyette and Stacey Tutela of Dalton were the first two Berkshire County medalists. Tutela, 16, a sophomore at Wahconah Regional High School, took the bronze medal in the Juvenile Girls Test Track Freeskate B Division.

It's all part of the full sports schedule for the Winter Games. Masters hockey is underway at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Rink in North Adams, while Alpine skiing will begin at 9:30 today at the Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield.

Skiers are used to getting early starts to their events. Skaters aren't quite as used to it.


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"This morning, I did practice ice and I think that was really hard," said Goyette. "I was like ‘Oh my God, I'm going to fall asleep.' Once [9:30 came], it was competition time. You have to get in the zone and you have to do this."

Goyette rolled into Williamstown from her home at 8 a.m. and hit the ice for warmups at 8:30.

"Usually, I will not skate until later, about 10," said Goyette, who skates with the Christmas Brook Figure Skating Club in North Adams. "It was different coming here this early and not having that many people here."

Tutela got on the ice around 10 a.m., shortly after Goyette's competition ended. It was an early day on the ice -- but not that early.

"I've actually competed at like 7 in the morning," Tutela said. "It's very tiring. The adrenaline rush is crazy and once you step on the ice, it's like nothing else matters. You do what you practiced for so long."

All the practice and the work lead to a two-minute performance before a panel of judges.

"This week was crazy," Goyette said. "I skated every day this week. I did a lot of off-ice training.

"Even in school, I'd be going through my program and thinking ‘This is what I've got to do. I have to work on this when I get home. I got school work done, but sometimes I had to stay up to like midnight, working on homework, because I didn't get home from skating until late."

Tutela skates out of the Boys and Girls Club with the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club. For her, getting ready for the Bay State Games didn't distract her from her studies at Wahconah -- at least not all the time.

"It's a little bit back and forth. I try not to make myself nervous. I try to be like, I practiced and I'm ready," said Tutela. "During history class in school, you try not to think about other things, but you end up thinking about skating."

There are lots of outstanding young athletes competing in this first day of the Bay State Winter Games. But there is one obvious thing about the athlete lists. On Day 1, there are only two boys competing. Stefan Wasshuber, 11, beat out 10-year old Craig White of Belmont in the Male Juvenile Well Balanced Free Skate Division.

White earned his silver medal skating to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and even wore a white glove on his right hand during the competition.

White said that he plays soccer, baseball and football at school back home and has been skating for three years. He smiled at a question about being one of the few guys skating and proceeded to name every male skater in a table set up to plug next year's U.S. Championships in Boston.

"Ross [Miner], Steven [Carrier] coach me on the weekends," said White. "I know them all."

The Belmont resident said he has been skating for three years, but has only seriously competed for less than a year.

Wasshuber, from Somerville, fell at one point in his routine but had more than enough to best his skating buddy from out east.

"It's just fun to compete. Me and him are friends. We know each other from the same rink," said White. "There's really no winner between friends."

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.