Homick, Haubrich prepare for Skate Canada Nationals

Article content

Tillsonburg’s Summer Homick and junior pair partner Marty Haubrich from Saskatchewan will face their biggest skating challenge yet at the2022 Skate Canada Nationals, Jan. 6-13, in Ottawa.


Story continues below

Article content

A new pair based at the Brantford Skating Club, Homick and Haubrich won silver medals at the Skate Canada Challenge, Dec. 1-5, in Regina.

It was a bit of a homecoming for 20-year-old Haubrich, who grew up in Dubuc, Saskatchewan, about 195 km east of Regina.

“It was the first time I had been back to Saskatchewan since the middle of April,” said Haubrich, who had moved to Brantford earlier this year to continue competitive pairs skating.

It was 14-year-old Homick’s first flight to a skating competition where she skated in both junior pair and pre-novice women.

“It was actually really exciting,” said Homick, who scored 35th in the massive 46-skater pre-novice category. “I still love singles. I’ve always done it, so I wanted to keep going with it.

“I skated two pretty good programs for me, so I was happy with that. It was really an opportunity to ‘get out there’ and get ready for pairs, which was two days after singles. I just really went in to skate it well – we kind of just threw the (pre-novice) program together last minute and hoped it would be good because we were focusing on pairs for most of the summer. Usually as a singles skater we’d have the programs done in June, then you train it throughout the summer. I ended up placing well at Sectionals (14th out of 50 skaters) and moving on to Challenge where I just wanted to skate clean programs and maybe score a personal best.”

She achieved a season’s personal best in the long program.

Homick’s first pre-novice competition had been December 2020, but due to the lack of competitions during the pandemic she considers 2021 to be her first pre-novice season.


Story continues below

Article content

“They (pairs and single skating) are pretty different, but you get used to it after a while.”

“All of the singles stuff complements all the pairs stuff as well,” Haubrich noted.

The Homick/Haubrich pair scored 125.6 points at Challenge, securing second overall behind the Ontario pair of Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar.

“The best we had ever performed our short program,” said Haubrich.

They were only four points behind the leaders after the short.

“The long was a little more on the rough side,” said Haubrich.

“It wasn’t how we planned on doing it,” Homick smiled.

“But we got through it,” said Haubrich. “And still ended up second overall which is kind of where we were hoping to be.”

“It (long program) wasn’t too bad but we just wanted to be better,” said Homick.

“We don’t quite have the same technical elements as the (McIntosh-Mimar) first-place team, so they’re going to be tough to beat,” said Haubrich.

As a junior pairs skater, Tillsonburg’s Summer Homick learned how to do lifts with skating partner Marty Haubrich. (Danielle Earl)
As a junior pairs skater, Tillsonburg’s Summer Homick learned how to do lifts with skating partner Marty Haubrich. (Danielle Earl) jpg, TN


As gold medal winners at Ontario Sectionals in Milton, Nov. 4-7, representing the Brant Skating Club and Skate Esterhazy, they qualified for the 2022 Skate Canada Nationals in Ottawa, with the novice pairs short program on Jan. 11 and free program Jan. 12.

“We might start working on some harder elements, but they probably won’t be ready for nationals quite yet,” said Haubrich in the weeks leading up to nationals. “It’s just time to fine tune everything and make sure everything’s crisp and clear so we can put on a good performance at nationals.”


Story continues below

Article content

If they do well in Ottawa there is a chance they might be eligible for international competition in 2022. Two World Junior spots are available and possibly Challenge Cups.

“If they think we are ready to venture into the international field, they might send us there,” said Haubrich.

Their program will remain the same for the most part, said Homick.

“There might be some side-by-side jumps that we could pull off… it just depends. But we’re working to get bigger elements and adding points.”

Marty Haubrich and Summer Homick will be competing at the 2022 Skate Canada Nationals in junior pairs. (Danielle Earl)
Marty Haubrich and Summer Homick will be competing at the 2022 Skate Canada Nationals in junior pairs. (Danielle Earl) jpg, TN


The junior skaters first teamed up at the Brant Skating Club in March 2021.

“In March I came out here to do some tryouts,” said Haubrich, who started skating for coach Alison Purkiss. “There’s more opportunity for partners (in Ontario) just with there being more people.”

“She (Purkiss) got in touch with some coaches in the area – and Summer’s coach Penny (Jelsma).”

Four or five skaters tried out, said Haubrich, and Homick was selected.

“I think it was how well we worked together,” said Homick.

And skill, said Haubrich. “It’s a little bit of both, too.”

“I wasn’t too sure about it at first,” Homick admitted. “I always wanted to be a single skater, and then when I tried it (pairs) I decided ‘yeah, I like pairs a lot more than I expected.’

“Penny Jelsma used to coach with Ali so their coaching is very similar, it didn’t take me very long to adjust.”

Homick, who first started skating at the Langton Skating Club in 2012, then seven years competitive skating at the Tillsonburg Skating Club, has also adjusted to travelling to Brantford for training rather than skating in her hometown.


Story continues below

Article content

“It was quite the challenge,” said Homick, who leaves school (Glendale HS) early to train daily in Brantford from 12-4ish in pairs and singles.

Jelsma, a professional coach in Tillsonburg, and Purkiss were not only coaching colleagues for a time in Strathroy, they were former competitors between the ages of 10-17.

“She (Purkiss) did pairs too, so that’s how I knew Alison,” said Jelsma. “She’s a long-time friend.

“She had mentioned Summer showed some ability and I agreed with her,” said Jelsma “I thought this would be a good fit and we’d ‘see how she does in tryouts…’ because this was just a tryout basis. They tried it out throughout the month I think she gelled really well with him.

“Things are going really well. So I’m super happy that she got that opportunity and explored that avenue.”

Jelsma recalled meeting Summer and her parents to coax and convince her into trying pairs.

“’Just go give it a try, there’s no harm in trying and if you don’t like it, you don’t like it.’ Then one thing led to another and she loves it. Now here she is all paired up, doing really well and going off to Nationals.”

Jelsma had also continued her singles skating, based in Kitchener, while competing in pairs.

“Usually it’s recommended that you do. You need to be a strong singles skater to be able to do very well in pair.”

The top pairs are doing side-by-side triple jumps, Jelsma noted, so a skater needs to grow and progress to be a contender at senior pairs.

“It’s just wonderful that she’s continuing to do both. It was a perfect opportunity for her – she’s got a great work ethic and just a love of skating and I knew she would be good at the opportunities brought to her, for sure.”


Story continues below

Article content


In figure skating, pairs differs from ice dancing in that it includes side-by-side jumps.

“Pairs has freeskate elements, too, so you have all the jumps and solo spins,” said Haubrich. “The lifts are different between ice dance and pairs as well. They can be on your shoulders (in ice dance) but you can’t have full extension of your arms. In pairs you have to have full extension of your arms over the top of your head.”

That lift element was new for Homick, who learned it for the tryout.

“To see how she handles it,” Haubrich nodded. “It was just basic lifts (off-ice).”

“Other than ice show lifts where all the other girls from the Tillsonburg Skating Club would lift me up… I had never really done any flips before or big lifts,” said Homick.

It didn’t take long to learn the elements in their program.

“I think she (coach Purkiss) was really surprised in how little time it took us to come together. Programs usually take a while.”

“Programs, it’s an ongoing thing,” Haubrich nodded. “We changed our program right before Sectionals at the beginning of October. A totally new program – we were just growing out of our old music.”

“I think it helped our speed a lot,” said Homick, noting the difference between the two programs. “A lot of the components score a bit higher and it shows people how fast we can skate and what we can do a little bit better.”

“It’s a more mature piece of music, too,” said Haubrich, who is in his third season of competitive pairs, “so it’s definitely going to help our look as a pair team.”

Latest National Stories


Story continues below

News Near Tillsonburg

This Week in Flyers