Skating at the junior national championships normally makes an athlete nervous. For Angela Wang, though, skating on her home ice in front of a loud and friendly crowd filled with family, friends and well-wishers took all the nerves out of the picture.
In the place of jitters and butterflies was a steely resolve to go out and put on a show for her Salt Lake Figure Skating Club.
"I just know this (routine)," Wang said. "I just went for it with everything I had."
The result was a fourth-place finish in the intermediate ladies free skate thanks to a score of 89.74.
Wang was one of a handful of local skaters competing in the four-day event and had the best score coming out of the qualifying rounds. She was in second place when she finished her routine in the finals on Saturday; she eventually dropped to fourth overall after the remaining skaters took to the ice.
Still, her experience was a memorable one.
"I just did what I could do. That's about all I can ask of myself," said the 11-year-old sixth-grader at Morningside Elementary in Salt Lake. "This is just a big learning experience."
Clearly the crowd favorite, Wang ended her routine with a cascade of stuffed animals and flowers falling to the ice from the stand. So many, in fact, she had a difficult time scooping everything up and carrying it back to the locker rooms.
She said she'll pick out a few favorites and donate the remaining toys to patients at Primary Children's Medical Center.
"They gave me a lot of energy" she said. "It was really exciting to skate here in front of them."
Finishing ahead of Wang in the competition was Nina Jiang from Texas with a score of 94.57, Kelly Nguyen at 91.38 and Lauren Dinh at 91.07.
The event featured hundreds of young athletes from around the country competing at the two rinks at the Salt Lake Sports Complex in a variety of disciplines ranging from dance and pairs to individual free skate.