Jodi Porter came home to Bountiful from where she's been living recently in Simi Valley, Calif., just to enter the Utah Winter Games figure-skating competition. She made the trip worthwhile, taking home the gold medal in the junior ladies division, the highest-level competition of this meet.
Thursday night at Bountiful, Porter said she "picked it up in the long program" to win after doing a short program that could have been better. "I just presented it the best, I guess," said the 17-year-old high school junior who plans to move back to Utah in the spring.Porter said she entered the Winter Games two years ago and enjoyed it enough to enter again.
She plans to make a career in skating somehow - in shows, as an instructor or judge - and to probably attend the University of Utah 11/2 years from now.
Porter defeated Utah Figure Skating Club teammate Laurie Fukushima for first in the junior ladies, and she headed the four-person all-star team chosen by the Games skating committee. Also on that team was novice ladies' winner Angie Lawson of UFSC, intermediate men's winner Eddie Gornik of Cottonwood Heights Figure Skating Club and UFSC's Kevin Garrett, runner-up to Gornik in intermediate men's.
After watching herself on videotape, Lawson, 13, a South Davis Junior High student, said she'd skated "a good program - I did everything I wanted to." It's her first year of novice competition, and she won the Copper Cup last summer, too.
Lawson's four-girl fan club followed her every move. The five girls are all teammates in volleyball and basketball. Lawson said she loves skating and misses a lot of basketball and volleyball games to do it.
She defeated Sara Rosevear of CHFSC for the novice title.
For Gornik, 12, this was the last meet of his intermediate career. He moves up to novice now, expecting the Phoenix Fiesta Skate in April to be his first meet at the higher class.
Gornik is so serious about his skating, and his Olympic ambitions, that his family moved from the Cottonwood Mall area to the Butlerville neighborhood so he could be near the skating rink. It's across the street from Butler Junior High, he added, but the main reason was the rink.
Gornik just returned from Seattle, where he placed third in his division last weekend in the Pacific Coast sectional meet that is a qualifier to the nationals next month for older skaters, most of whom bypassed this event because it came so soon after Seattle. He won a competition earlier this season in Tacoma, Wash., and was regional champion in Santa Rosa, Calif.
Other winners on the final night of the three-day skating competition included Rachael Zahniser in preliminary girls, Trent Thueson and Shayna Lund in sub-juvenile boys and girls, Debbie Zahniser in juvenile girls and Shaunna Smith in intermediate ladies.