Mckenna Colthorp (centre) once again topped the podium at the 2011 Royal Glenora Invitational in Edmonton before taking the provincial championship in Grand Prairie at the Skate Canada Sectionals. Pho

Ten-year-old flying high

Figure skater got her start in the Fort and now is the best in Alberta

At 10 years old, she’s the best in Alberta.

Mckenna Colthorp is from Fort St. James and got her start in skating here, with the speed skating club’s cradles program.

Mckenna was only three when she started skating, and according to her mom, Chantelle Colthorp, she was a natural.

“Mckenna just stepped on the ice and she could skate,” she said.

At her first figure skating competition in Williams Lake, Mckenna received fourth place, and she has been competing ever since.

Since she was five, Mckenna has been spending her entire summer holidays in Kelowna, training under a high-level coach there named Jason Mongrain to develop her natural abilities, and her family would then return again to Fort St. James for the winter, at least until they moved to Alberta. Now the family spends their winters in Grand Prairie, Alberta.

But Mckenna skated in the Fort until she was seven and a half years old.

Once she moved, she has been working with coach Ashley Spry, and apparently the pair have developed a special bond.

Which is a good thing, because Mckenna’s high level of performance and competition have her on the ice skating five days a week, as well as off-ice training to develop her core strength and flexibility.

Spry even travels to Kelowna for part of Mckenna’s continued summer training at the Kelowna Centre for Skating Excellence. Spry spends two weeks there working with Mongrain and Mckenna to further develop Mckenna’s potential.

The hard work and high-level coaching must be paying off for the young figure skater, because after skating at the BC SummerSkate competition in August, where she placed second in the juvenile women’s division, she was invited to the 2011 Sask Skate Invitational in October, which brings in the best skaters from across western Canada. Mckenna placed first in her division.

Shortly after this, Mckenna once again placed first in pre-juvenile at a competition at the Royal Glenora Invitational in Edmonton.

Two weeks after, she again competed, this time at the 2011 Skate Canada Sectionals, where Mckenna became the provincial champion.

Mckenna received a lot of attentiona after her win, her mom called it a “little bit overwhelming.”

But she may have deserved some attention. At 10, Mckenna had seven double jumps in her program, and while she didn’t skate it 100 per cent perfectly, she was a full four points ahead of the second place skater, which is a lot in figure skating according to her mom.

Mckenna’s next step will be to try out on Dec. 9 and 10 for the Arctic Winter Games, and if she makes it, she’ll compete in Whitehorse.

It is all fairly impressive for a young skater who her mom said has modest ambitions.

“We’ve never ever had big goals,” said Chantelle. “Mckenna’s goals have always been realistic.”

While Mckenna’s last goal was to have a good skate at sectionals, her mom may have a few dreams of her own.

“I’d like to see her at junior nationals one day, that would be neat,” she said.

But she is also keeping it in perspective and making sure Mckenna is happy.

“We’ll keep doing it as long as she’s having fun and enjoys it,” said her mom.