Winter athletes to compete in the Berkshires at Bay State Games

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The 33rd edition of the Bay State Winter Games begins its month-long competition in Berkshire County this weekend.

Figure Skating will kick off the Winter Games Saturday and Sunday at Williams College's Lansing Chapman Rink.

Over the course of the next several weekends, alpine skiing, masters ice hockey, bowling and the demonstration sport of curling will be contested at various Berkshire locales.

Kevin Cummings is the executive director of the Massachusetts Amateur Sports Foundation, the organization that runs both the winter and the summer versions of the Bay State Games. He said he's feeling pretty good about this year's games.

"Figure skating was actually down last year. There were a lot of things that were causing some issues and conflicts. Figure skating is up. We have more hockey teams than we had last year, and curling is new," he said. "Things are going really well."

Cummings calls the Winter Games healthy.

"Right now, with the addition of curling, we're up to seven [winter] sports," he said. "We've reinstated bowling, curling is new."

There will be 450 skaters competing in the two-day event at Williams.

"This year is a big year for figure skating," Cummings said. "It's a qualifier for the State Games of America [national competition]. The State Games of America in 2019 are going to be held in Lynchburg, Va. Because it's a drivable location, we anticipate a lot of skaters going. Everyone wants to try to qualify."

Skaters will include local talent from both the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club and the Christmas Brook Figure Skaters.

Christmas Brook's Sam Whittum, Emily Daigneault, Hannah Fuller, Yvonne Koperek, Lara Shore-Sheppard, Shaleigh Levesque, Ayla Senecal, Grace Miller, Maia Sheppard, Haley Wood and Cordelia Moran will compete. As will Dakota Marquis, Sophia Mele, Anna Rawson, Alayna Schwarzer, Caroline Gillette, Hanna Masiero, Briana Palmieri, Daniella Santamarina, Amanda Drager, Madison Quinn, Rebecca Drager, Aimee Boulais and Katie Malone-Smith of Pittsfield Figure Skating.

After a break, curling and bowling will be contested the weekend of Feb. 24-25. Curling is a demonstration sport and eight teams from curling clubs in Massachusetts will battle for medals. The tourney will take place at the Boys & Girls Club of The Berkshires on Saturday, Feb. 24.

"We wanted to provide an opportunity for them to showcase curling along with the well-established Bay State Winter sports," Pete Leclerc, the MASF director of sports and operations said in a statement. "I can't wait to see it this year and then open up curling to the general public to compete in the 2019 games."

Bowling is back in the games, and will be held in Pittsfield this year. The bowling competition will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at Ken's Bowl.

"A couple of years, we did it in North Adams. It kind of phased out a little bit. There was some interest to try it in Pittsfield," said Cummings, "so we're going to do that."

The Bay State Winter Games will continue in March with Masters Ice Hockey and Alpine Skiing.

The hockey tournament will run from Friday, March 2, through Sunday, March 4, at the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Rink in North Adams.

Alpine skiing returns to the Bousquet Ski Area on Saturday, March 3.

"It's our 33rd year. Thirty-three years, and things are moving along," Cummings said. "It's going good."

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.


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