Brookelyn Koersen was seven when she performed her first freeskate solo to The Bear Necessities from the movie Jungle Book.
She had a a blast, won a gold medal and was instantly hooked on figure skating.
Now 15, Koersen is still in love with the sport, pocketing gold in the recent B.C./Yukon Super Series StarSkate Finals at the Capital News Centre in Kelowna.
Koersen, a member of the Armstrong/Enderby Skating Club, topped the Star 5 (13 & Over class) Junior Bronze Freeskate in a field of 25. She is coached by Tannis Crerar of Vernon, head coach in Armstrong/Enderby.
“I don’t really have a style; I like to try new things,” said Koersen, who attends Pleasant Valley Secondary in Armstrong. “I feel fairly comfortable competing. I get nervous beforehand, but as soon as I’m on the ice I am fine.
“Tannis makes me stronger because of her amazing attention to detail, her patience and her dedication. She knows exactly what to say to me before I step on the ice. She knows when I need encouragement, whether it be a hug or some tough love.”
Crerar and Koersen chose music from a skating website and put the solo together for the StarSkate.
“The most difficult element is my double salchow. I am hoping to move up a level in skating next year and will have more difficult elements.
“I skate because I love it. I love having something to work on and challenge myself. As well, I love to perform my program for people. I have gained many amazing friends through skating.
“My parents (John and Susan) and family (older sister Kirsten Pliszka is married with two children) have always been huge role models for me. They have endless support for whatever I want to do.”
Brookelyn joined the Armstrong/Enderby club when she was five. She has found that Crerar’s skill and committment to her skaters shows in their accomplishments on the ice.
“She is a hard worker and she really takes her skating very seriously,” said Crerar. “She takes what I teach her and works on it until she accomplishes it. She’s strong, but absolutely beautiful on the ice which is an amazing combination.
“I tell my skaters they have to be strong out there, but they also better look like a ballerina.”
Koersen, currently in Europe (she spent St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland) on a school trip, earns straight A’s in class and is a senior member of the Armstrong 4-H Swine Club, exhibiting and competing with her market hogs in the 4-H classes at the Interior Provincial Exhibition each year.
She also works after school and on weekends at Askew’s grocery store in Armstrong.
Her father runs a mixed farm (hay, beef, grain) just north of Armstrong. She tends to get quite fond of her hogs and always finds it hard to send them away to market when the IPE is over. She is just as fond of skating.
“I will probably compete until the end of Grade 12 and then go off to university. I hope to stay in the sport. I would be interested in coaching or perhaps being a judge in the future.”
Crerar plans to help Koersen reach the Senior Bronze Ladies level next year, meaning Brookelyn needs to perfect a few more double jumps.