After Will Annis did not make the cut for the last two US Figure Skating Championships, he thought about leaving the sport for good.
The 16-year-old from Duxbury eventually decided against it, making changes to his training instead. His perseverance paid off Wednesday, as he won the silver medal in the junior men’s division at the 2022 championships in Nashville with an overall score of 202.87. Kai Kovar of Ogden, Utah won the title with a 204.68.
“I made some changes,” said Annis. “I switched rinks, I switched coaches. It really helped me find the motivation again to work hard and put the effort in. That’s what I credit for having this step up this year.”
Annis won a national championship at the juvenile level in 2017 and the novice level in 2019. He impressed many by landing a triple Axel, the most difficult triple jump, at just 13. Missing the championships in both 2020 and 2021 were disappointing detours on Annis’s skating journey.
“I kind of lost a lot of motivation,” said Annis. “I almost actually stopped skating because I felt like I was going downhill and I wasn’t really pushing myself enough.”
Annis switched rinks, going from his previous club in Yarmouth to Norwood’s Skating Club of Boston. He began training with the club’s new top coaches, Olga Ganicheva and Aleksey Letov, and added popular choreographer Adam Blake to his team.
On the first day of competition on Tuesday, Annis skated a pristine short program to Green Day’s “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” landing a triple Axel, triple flip and a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination. His 75.81 score put him 7.1 points above Kovar.
In Wednesday’s long program, Annis was one of only two skaters to attempt a quadruple jump. While his quadruple toe loop didn’t have the best of landings, he didn’t fall. He added two triple Axels and four other triple jumps. While he had a bobble on a camel spin late in his “Sarabande Suite” program, the difficulty attempted earned him a 127.06 score, good enough for silver.
It might not have been the title, but the progress alone is positive for Annis.
“The fact that I was able to get (to Nationals) and skate fine, not my best, but skate fine, is just a huge step up from last year,” Annis said.