Bay State Games: Hannah Fuller ignores distractions, wins gold medal


Photo Gallery: Bay State Games Figure Skating

WILLIAMSTOWN -- On the final day of the Bay State Games, one local skater blocked out all the outside distractions and skated a gold-medal winning program in the Preliminary Test Track Group C on Sunday.

In a sport where appearance, agility, grace and other factors can affect a judge's decision, properly functioning equipment is usually far down on the list of worries for a skater.

However, Cheshire resident Hannah Fuller had to block out a skate malfunction before and up to the competition en route to earning a gold medal.

"My boot and my blade was coming apart," she said. "I had to get it fixed twice, and my blade had chips in it, so I had to get that fixed last night."

"Hannah had a unique experience," Christmas Brook skating coach Laura Wood said. "[The skate] was definitely in the back of her mind, but we started preparing early [Sunday] to get her to focus on what she needed to do. I did whatever I could to keep her mind off her skate."

With parents and coaches checking to make sure everything from a skater's outfit to smile is perfect, it would be easy to lose focus on the task at hand. Fuller said it wasn't hard to lock-in after her warm-up skate.

"I'm pretty focused," she said. "I just get a little nervous before competitions. I was a little shaky during warm-ups, but I knew I had to focus.

"[Coach Wood] told me I'm beautiful and that I could do it. I didn't expect to win with how I skated. ... But I pulled it together."

For Fuller and the rest of the Christmas Brook skaters, the Bay State Games exposes them to skaters from all over Massachusetts. Christmas Brook coach Cheri Daub said before the Bay State Games that Eastern Mass. and other skaters are at an advantage with greater access to skating facilities.

With the rink at the Boys and Girls Club of Pittsfield closed, ice time in Williamstown and North Adams is valuable. Wood said doing extra sessions whenever possible was beneficial to Fuller.

"We've put in extra sessions at the North Adams rink," Wood said. "The manager [Darin Lane] opened extra public sessions for the kids to go to, and they did. They all found extra ice time leading up to this.

"We had a lot going on this year, so they probably could have been a little more prepared," she said. "We had shows leading up to [Bay States] that we were working on. ... This is our biggest competition that the kids do, so there is a lot of emotional and physical stress that goes into it. But I felt like they all go out there and do their best."

Also in Preliminary Test Track Group C was Yvonne Koperek of North Adams, who finished sixth, and Alexis Desroches of North Adams, who finished ninth.

In the Pre Preliminary Test Track Group C: Daniella Santamarina of Pittsfield (Pittsfield SC) took home the gold, Jacy Howland of North Adams (Christmas Brook SC) finished seventh and Allison Lamke (Pittsfield SC) finished eighth.

In Preliminary Test Track Group B: Shaleigh Levesque of Adams finished third, Samantha Whittum of Williamstown finished sixth, and Lauren Hunt from Middlebury, Vt., skating out of Christmas Brook, finished eighth.

In Pre Preliminary Test Track Group D: Rebecca Drager of Dalton, skating out of the Pittsfield Skate Club, finished eighth and Emily DePietro (Christmas Brooke SC) finished ninth.

To reach Akeem Glaspie:,
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