Roberts impresses at national skating event

Sophie Roberts made quite an impression in her first experience at competing at the State Games of America.

The rising Wilton High sophomore won the gold in the compulsory (short program) competition and finished fourth in the free skate (long program) in the Open Juvenile figure skating competition at the games, held earlier this month in Nebraska.

“It was definitely a really good experience for me, to come up against the best in the nation in my level,” said Roberts. “I was just trying to do my best, and that’s exactly what I did.”

The games are held every two years. Athletes can qualify for the national competition by finishing in the top three at annual statewide competitions — in Roberts’ case, the Nutmeg Games. At this year’s state competition she won the gold medal in both the compulsory and free skate — making it five gold medals for her in four years.

This year’s State Games of America were the largest ever held, with 15,000 athletes from 47 states. The Opening Ceremonies were held last Friday at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. More than 60 sports were featured this year, which was a record.

The figure skating competition, held in Omaha, are the largest State Games of America sport in participation every year, averaging around 900 skaters.

“I thought it was awesome,” Roberts said of the experience. “At the opening ceremonies they were so welcoming and so nice.”

Roberts has been skating since an early age, and said the artistry of figure skating made it unique compared to other sports.

“It’s very artistic. In a lot of other sports it’s very goal oriented. In skating you can make it artistic and really tell a story with your program,” she said.

Roberts, who trains with the Springdale Figure Skating Club and at Chelsea Piers in Stamford, practices year-round, six to seven days a week, three to four hours a day. She also takes classes in ballet and modern dance.

“There’s always something new to learn,” said Roberts, who hopes to skate on the college level some day. “You can always be better.”