You’ll see dreams and drama at figure-skating competition in Everett

For anyone who has watched Olympic figure skating, it looks oh so familiar: the unmistakable looks of concentration as skaters circle the rink during warmups, last-minute advice from a coach, the bows and waves to the audience at the end of a performance, and teddy bears thrown to the ice from appreciative fans.

This, though, is a chance to see skaters who are motivated more by dreams than drama, some as young as 6-year-old Jessica Phounsanoy, a member of the Seattle Skating Club.

Phounsanoy is one of the 240 people competing in the Pacific Northwest Figure Skating Championships, which continue today and Sunday at Everett’s Comcast Arena. The competition, open to the public, is free.

Phounsanoy was warming up for her freestyle event Friday afternoon, supervised by her teacher, Barbara Murphy of Shoreline.

“Point your toes,” she gently reminded her student.

Participants have come from Alaska, Oregon, British Columbia, Idaho and Washington, said Trisha Palm of Everett, who is helping to coordinate the event.

Skaters compete in a variety of events, including freeskate, compulsory moves, jumps and spins.

Some of the participants are as young as 4 years old, Palm said, and are just learning the basics of skating. Others are in the upper teens and early 20s, some of whom have aspirations “to go as high as they can go” in the sport, she said.

The top three finishers in each category qualify to participate in the National State Games of America competition next year in San Diego.

Two ice dancing skaters who have already won a local following are Kamiak High students Jean-Luc Baker, 16, and Joylyn Yang, 14, who will be competing again today.

Friday’s program was their first competition of the year, explained their coach, Sharon Jones Baker. She said they have some obstacles to overcome.

“Usually the first competition is not that good as a performance presentation,” she said. “Hopefully they’re getting it out of their system.”

Today, they’re scheduled to perform in a free dance competition. Next week, they’re off to another competition in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Baker encouraged families to stop by the events this weekend and enjoy both the skating skills on display and the music the skaters perform to, which, she said, expresses the skaters’ personalities.

It’s an event that’s enjoyable for all ages, she said.

The Northwest figure skating championship is held every summer, sponsored by skating clubs throughout the region, including the Everett Figure Skating Club, Palm said. Everett last hosted the event in 2007.

Palm’s own two daughters, Haley, 13, and Sara, 10, spend about 10 hours a week practicing on the ice. Both are participating in this weekend’s events.

Haley has been skating for almost four years. Her program of jumps and spins will last about two minutes, with one of the tough jumps coming at the end of the program.

“You get on the ice and it’s exciting afterward, but you’re kind of nervous. It’s kind of a mix,” she said.

Her sister, Sara, will be performing jumps, spins and footwork to the tune of Chattanooga Choo-Choo. Learning new things and trying different skills is what keeps her practicing each day, she said.

She said she’s already set some goals for skills she’d like to learn in the next year, skills used in international skating competitions. “I’d like to be starting on my double loop or double toe,” she said.

Nicole Coward, 9, of Edmonds, sat in the arena with her mother, Ginger Coward, Friday afternoon watching other performers warm up.

Nicole has been skating about nine months and won a second place medal in a basic skills competition.

“She’s passionate about it,” Ginger Coward said of her daughter’s devotion to skating. “Just a couple weeks after she started skating, she said, ‘The rink feels like my home away from home.’ She took right to it.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

When to watch

The Pacific Northwest Figure Skating Championships will continue today and Sunday at Comcast Arena, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett.

The event is free. Competitions take place from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. today and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A semi-truck rolled over blocking all traffic lanes Thursday morning on I-5 north just south of Arlington on Sept. 21, 2023. (Washington State Patrol)
Overturned trailer spills fish onto I-5 near Arlington, closing lanes

The crash blocked all lanes, forcing drivers going north during rush hour to use the left shoulder.

The Marysville Municipal Jail is pictured Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Marysville weighs mandatory jail time for repeated ‘public disorder’

The “three strikes” proposal sets a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail for crimes like public drug use and trespassing.

Everett police on patrol heard gunshots near 26th Street and Lombard Avenue and closed off multiple roads as they investigated on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Everett Police Department)
3 teens arrested after gunfire in downtown Everett

No one was injured. Police heard gunfire in the area of 26th Street and Lombard Avenue.

It’s time to celebrate and say thanks

Local journalism — and community support — will be the stars of Behind the News Stories on Oct. 24 in Edmonds.

Most Read