- Hitting the ice with the kids of North American Challenge Skate.
You probably haven't heard of Rebecca Hughes, Stephen Carriere, or Yount & Marron, but the whole world may know them in a few years. They're among the top names at the North American Challenge Skate, an annual competition between American and Canadian novice and junior figure skaters who've proved themselves in sectional meets.
The program was started in 1996 to give young skaters more experience in international competitions. In May, the U.S. Figure Skating Association and Skate Canada each chose its 24-member teams, which were then separated into Novice Ladies, Novice Men, Novice Pairs, and Junior Pairs divisions. The field of skaters, ranging in age from 13 to 16, could produce a few Olympic-level competitors for the 2010 games in Vancouver. "It's a great first step for them and sets the stage for future competitions overseas," says association spokesman Bob Dunlop.
In true Olympic fashion, no cash prizes are awarded, but winners walk away with medals. "[The judges] give them some good feedback, like where they're at and what they need to be working on," Dunlop says. It takes place 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, and 11:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Mentor Civic Arena, 8600 Munson Road in Mentor. Admission is $5 to $25; call 440-974-5730. -- Cris Glaser
The Browns open up with thoughts of closing down.
"Our theme [this year] is going to be finishing," says Browns head coach Butch Davis. "We were terrible at it in 2001. Last year, we were better." With training camp just a week old, the first official Browns scrimmage of the season (against the Buffalo Bills) takes place Saturday. "I really like the chemistry of our running backs," Davis says. The quarterback situation is a different story. "Any time you have a position competition, the entire team senses that everybody has to fight for what they're going to get. It's all about earning something. It's just [not] going to be given to you. That's the way Sundays are." Saturdays too: The scrimmage starts at 11 a.m. at Browns Stadium (1085 West Third Street). Tickets are $5; call 216-241-5555. -- Steve Albanese