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West Hartford Figure Skater Wins Graduating Seniors Program Gold Award

Genella Evans at her senior show presentation. Courtesy photo

Genella Evans, a senior at West Hartford’s Hall High School, received notification of the award last week.

Award certificate received by Genella Evans. Courtesy photo


Genella Evans, a member of the Hall High Class of 2023, was recognized with the Gold Level award for graduating seniors from the Program Development Committee for U.S. Figure Skating. Genella’s honor is focused on her skating achievement during her high school years.

According to the Committee, this honor recognizes the hard work of student athletes who have participated in figure skating throughout high school.  The awards are based on a skater’s level of competitive achievement in high school. Selection for this award speaks to a skater’s continued commitment to succeeding in their athletic and academic endeavors.

Genella first stepped on the ice at the Veterans Memorial Skating Rink at the age of 4. She skated in her first West Hartford Figure Skating Show at age 5 in 2005. Until the age of 12, she was coached by Connie Wantanabe Nakamura – a West Hartford resident who had moved to town when her daughter Erica got a job at Metlife. Unfortunately, Nakamura lost her battle with lung cancer in 2017.

Growing up Genella practiced before school and spent her summers on the ice in West Hartford and at the International Skating Center of CT. She was a student of Keiko Nakamura and Dartanian Reed at Hartford City Ballet and also an active participant in the U.S. Figure Skating S.T.A.R.S. development program.

Genella Evans in her senior show. Courtesy photo

In 2016, Chris Brennan at JEKL joined her team – designing her off-ice training and helping her maximize her mental, emotional, and athletic potential. She started working with coach Nicole Fron in 2017 and is currently coached by From with Kathy Genovese for moves in the field and by Daniel Petrenko for jump harness training. She passed her senior “Moves in the Field” test with distinction.

When Genella’s father suffered a stroke, family friends and members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in West Hartford organized carpools to get her to and from the rink so she could continue to train. The Connecticut Children’s Hospital helped her rehab a broken ankle. In 2020, she was awarded the U.S. Figure Skating Get Up Champion Award recognizing her perseverance and grit. She continued to exhibit those traits when she was also ill with Lyme disease in the summer 2022.

Genella is a five-time gold medalist at The Nutmeg State Games. She has represented Connecticut at the State Games of America, earning a gold and silver medal. She is a top regional competitor and competes in the National Qualifying Series at the Junior IJS level. This year’s competition series kicks off July 1, and she is also currently competing in the National Excel Series at the Senior Level . She recently earned a gold (senior excel) and pewter medal (Junior IJS) at The 2023 Southern CT Open and will compete at the North Shore Open. The top six finalists with a combined score in two competitions in the Eastern Section will advance to the National Excel Invitational Final in Austin, TX.

Genella is a coach in the West Hartford Learn to Skate Program and also works as a rink attendant. During COVID, after pay-to-play fees at West Hartford Public Schools were waived, she played two seasons as the back-up goalie for the Hall/Conard girls hockey team. She loves ice shows and has skated in every West Hartford show since 2009.

She recently raised over $2,400 for CT Children’s Medical Center and the Scott Hamilton Sk8toElimin8 cancer foundation and performed in the show at the International Skating Center of CT.

Genella Evans’ senior pin. Courtesy photo

Genella plans to study cybersecurity and compete collegiately with the Penn State University figure skating team.

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