SCARBOROUGH – In elementary school, the opportunity to draw comes often.

Flowers with loopy petals. Wobbly rays emanating from smiley suns. Stick figures supporting bubble heads.

Each of Morgan Sewall’s early art projects involved another motif, a subject never far from her thoughts.

“I couldn’t think of anything to draw other than skating stuff,” she said. “My mom actually created a (collage) of everything I did when I was little that had to do with skating, things I couldn’t really get my mind off.”

All those one-dimensional images of a ponytailed girl wearing ice skates — framed for posterity and hanging in an upstairs hallway of the family farmhouse in Scarborough — have morphed into a New England champion figure skater.

This week Sewall, now a 14-year-old freshman at Scarborough High, will compete against 11 other girls for a berth in the U.S. championships in January.

The novice short program is scheduled for this morning and the novice free skate for Friday morning at the Eastern Sectionals in Jamestown, N.Y., near Buffalo.

Each skater at the sectional meet qualified by placing among the top four at a regional. Sewall is the only Maine skater among the novice, junior and senior skaters in Jamestown. Four will advance to the nationals in San Jose, Calif.

“She’s a very athletic skater, outstanding at jumping,” said Carol Pichette, Sewall’s coach since her first group lesson at Portland Ice Arena at age 6.

Pichette grew up in England, skated internationally and traveled with Disney on Ice before settling in Maine. She remembered Sewall having excellent balance very early on, perhaps because the youngster began skiing with her parents at 2.

“She just took to it really quickly,” Pichette said. “Not until I started teaching her and we started to progress did I realize she just had natural talent. She’s a great student. She’s picked up things really quick.”

Figure skaters begin in the juvenile division and can work their way through intermediate, novice and junior before reaching senior, the highest level. Skaters in the youngest divisions can qualify for junior nationals from regional meets, as Sewall did the past two years.

She reached Salt Lake City last winter and Cleveland in 2009, but neither time advanced from her qualification group to become one of the 20 finalists.

At this year’s New England competition in Boston in early October, Sewall won the short program and placed second in free skate to finish with 104.97 points, better than the other 11 New England novice skaters and higher than all but two of the qualifying skaters from the other two regionals — North Atlantic and South Atlantic — that feed into the Easterns.

Madison Vinci and Brianna Laxson of the Washington D.C. Figure Skating Club, scored 10 and 15 points higher, respectively, with routines that included jumps with three rotations.

Sewall has landed a triple salchow but likely will stick to her more consistent double jumps.

“I don’t think it’s worth risking it right now for something I’m not positive I can do,” Sewall said. “For next year I’ll definitely need a triple or two because it’s that higher level.”

Regardless of what happens this week, Sewall plans to test up to the junior division.

“My main goal was to make it to the sectionals,” Sewall said. “I wanted to keep going forward and do better, so I’d say I achieved my goal by just making it.”

Sewall does have other interests. She plays trumpet in the school band. She enjoys swimming and skiing. She has a parakeet named Icy, a barn cat named Nellie and a burly yellow lab named Hooper.

But skating remains her love.

“I can’t really see my life without it,” she said. “I would love to become professional one day. I just want to go as far as I can.”

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at [email protected]

Twitter: GlennJordanPPH