BY JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY — In pool, a masse is a trick shot.
For his next trick, Laurent Masse is looking to get the Traverse City Figure Skating Club into nationals.
Whether that happens this year or in the future remains to be seen.
"We've never had any competitors at nationals," said Masse, director of the club. "But that's the goal."
That route starts at this weekend's Eastern Great Lakes Regionals at the Ice Cube in Ann Arbor.
"Our kids are really prepared and they've worked very hard," Masse said. "You never know. You just never know. I hope they all skate well. If they skate well and they feel good about how they did, we'll be happy. And hopefully the results will reflect that."
Molly Davies advanced to the final round in the pre-juvenile level two years ago and just missed that round by one spot a year ago, but that level can't move on. This year, she's at the juvenile level, which is one where she can move on to the sectionals.
Chloe Gates and Leigha Brown are a level higher at intermediate. At 14, Gates is the oldest of the eight skaters headed to the competition.
Anna Rossiter is the youngest. At age 7, she's entered in the preliminary level, while Frances Rossiter, Anna Clifton, Ashley Edmondson and Lauren Gibson are in this year's pre-juvenile level.
The skaters leave today for Ann Arbor, arriving in time for a practice session before the competition starts Friday and goes through Tuesday.
Masse noted that each of the eight started in the club after participating in its basic skills club, which is slated for Oct. 13 this year.
Regardless of how the eight finish in the standings, the experience
"We go to some of the bigger competitions throughout the area in the competitive season," said Masse, who has been with the club since 1997. "We go to Ann Arbor for an open competition in May. We go to Skate Detroit, which is a big competition that draws skaters from all across the country and beyond. So throughout the year, we're definitely gauging where we are and setting goals along the way, but this is definitely the biggest one of the year for us."