Sarah Everhardt is ready to have a ‘good time’ in her senior nationals debut

By Gina Capellazzi, Team FSO website administrator
Photos by Robin Ritoss

After three years skating in the junior ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Virginia-based skater Sarah Everhardt has qualified for her first senior Nationals, which will take place Jan. 22-28, 2024 in Columbus, Ohio.

To qualify, Everhardt won the gold medal at the 2024 Eastern Sectionals Singles Final in Coral Springs, Florida in November.

The 17-year-old from Haymarket, Virginia started skating around the age of 5. At the time, her parents, Jonathan and Ekaterina, were putting her in a bunch of different sports, like swimming and gymnastics, but Everhardt said “skating was just the one that stuck.”

“I remember by the second Learn to Skate class or something, I went up to my mom and I was like, ‘Mom, Mom, look I didn’t fall!’ I fell in love with the sport ever since then,” Everhardt recalled.

By the time she was 11, Everhardt got more serious about figure skating. She transitioned to more online schooling so she could spend more time at the rink. Everhardt said her favorite thing about skating is jumping.

“I think jumps are my strength. I really like jumping. It’s one of my favorite things. I always jump no matter what,” she said.

Junior Grand Prix

Everhardt qualified for her first U.S. Championships in 2022, where she finished in 11th in the junior event. She received her first international assignment, competing at the Egna Spring Trophy in Italy later that spring. The 2022-2023 season for Everhardt included winning the Philadelphia Summer International on the junior level, a top 10 finish at her first Junior Grand Prix event and qualifying for her second U.S. Championships.

This season, Everhardt competed in her first senior international event, Cranberry Cup, where she finished in sixth place. A few weeks later, she earned another sixth place finish, this time at the Junior Grand Prix in Gdansk, Poland, which was her second Junior Grand Prix event.

“I didn’t skate so great at my first [ Junior ] Grand Prix, so going into the second one, I really just wanted to skate well and have a good experience there,” Everhardt explained.

“I think I skated a really good short. I was really happy with it,” she added of her short program in Gdansk, where she finished fourth. “Long could have been a little bit better. There was one little mistake. But other than that, I was pretty good. I was pretty happy with how I skated and how I showed everyone that I can skate well.”

Qualifying for her first senior Nationals

In November, Everhardt won the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on the senior level. Though her placement earned her a trip to the U.S. Championships, Everhardt didn’t think she skated so well at the event.

“There were a couple of mistakes,” she admitted, noting that she has already fixed some of those mistakes since Sectionals.

“It was one of my goals to make it to Nationals and I’m glad I achieved that goal,” she added.

In early December, Everhardt traveled to California to work with her choreographer, Nadia Kanaeva. The two spent a more than a week cleaning up Everhardt’s programs in preparation for Nationals.

“I’m running a lot of programs to get a lot of consistency in so that I can feel confident in myself at Nationals so that I know that I can do a good program and I can show everyone a clean skate,” she explained to Figure Skaters Online, who spoke with Everhardt while she was in California.

This season, Everhardt is skating to “I’ll Take Care of You” by Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa for her short program and “Winter” from The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivald for her free skate.

“My short program, I feel like it’s laid back. It’s kind of chill and I’m able to just skate and relax with it,” Everhardt described.

“I really like my long this year,” she revealed. “It’s kind of my first time trying a classical piece and I just really like myself in the program and I like skating it in general.”

Training alongside “the Quad God”

For the past four years, Everhardt has been working with Uzbekistani Olympic figure skaters Tatiana Malinina and Roman Skornyakov, who are also the parents and coaches of 2023 World bronze medalist and U.S. Champion Ilia Malinin.

“I really like working with them,” Everhardt shared of her coaches. “I like that they’re tough on me. I think we work well together.”

Working with Malinina and Skornyakov means Everhardt trains alongside Malinin, who made history by becoming the first skater to ever land a quadruple Axel. The two share the same ice time. Occasionally, Everhardt says Malinin will help her with elements, give her pointers or tell her what she’s doing wrong.

“It’s pretty cool that I get to skate with him,” she said.

“It’s also pretty cool seeing him do these crazy combos and crazy jumps. It’s an awesome example of what I’m supposed to do every single day, so that’s great,” she continued.

Seeing what Malinin is able to do technically has Everhardt trying new elements in her own skating. For the past couple of months, she has been working on the triple Axel. She told Figure Skaters Online that she’s been doing it on the pole harness to get the feel of the rotation. She has occasionally tried to do it by herself, but hasn’t successfully landed it yet.

“I’m slowly trying things, not trying to rush anything,” she explained. “I’m trying to like solidify the elements in my program now, but occasionally, I try new things for the future.”


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Looking forward to Columbus

Everhardt won’t be attempting the triple Axel in Columbus. She is just heading to Columbus, excited to skate in her third Nationals.

“I’m really excited to be competing on the senior level with the top senior skaters for the first time,” she shared. “Watching the senior events as a junior, it’s a completely different atmosphere and I really just want to experience the event and have a fun time.”

Everhardt says her grandparents will be in Columbus to watch her skate.

“That’ll be pretty fun,” she said.

While she doesn’t have any specific placement goals for Nationals, Everhardt just wants to skate well.

“I want to have a good time. Again, I’m excited to be senior for the first time,” she said. “And maybe after [the competition], I can hang out with my friends and go shopping somewhere and have fun.”

Off the ice

When Everhardt isn’t on the ice, she is a high-school student. She starts her day with two classes at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, where she’s a junior in high school. She also takes classes online as well. While she hasn’t given too much thought on what she’ll do next after she graduates next year, she says college is definitely in her future.

Though she doesn’t have a lot of free time between school and skating, when Everhardt has a chance, she enjoys to paint and draw.

“Although I’m not very good at it, but I like to try,” she laughed.

Right now, her focus is on the U.S. Championships.

“I just want to skate well and have a good time,” she said.