Figure skating to return to Nationals
By Alix Peabody
Published on Thursday, March 5, 2009
For the ninth year in a row, the Dartmouth Figure Skating Club Team has qualified for the national championships. This year, the team will be competing for its sixth-consecutive national title April 18 and 19 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The team, an officially recognized United States Figure Skating Collegiate Club, has qualified for the National Championship every year since the competition began in 2000. The team won its first national title 2004, and has won every year since.
Now, the figure skating team will head to Colorado College with hopes of bringing home its sixth-consecutive national title.
As the team looks toward the national championship, its members are working hard to come out on top, co-captain Natalie Falsgraf '10 said.
"We're really excited for nationals, we really want to win and stay champions," she said.
The team's toughest competition this season is Boston University and University of Delaware, Falsgraf said. The BU team boasts two men who compete on the national level, she said.
"The competition just keeps getting tougher, but so do our skaters," co-captain Kate Schmidt '09 said.
The beginning of the season was challenging for the skating team because Loren McGean, the team's long-time coach, left the team in August 2008, Falsgraf said. The team was not able to hire new coaches until after its first qualifying competition.
"There has definitely been an adjustment," Falsgraf said. "We're really glad to have coaches now."
Jacki Smith and Kristin Meyer are the team's new coaches. Both Smith and Meyer are from the Upper Valley area.
Schmidt scheduled and ran practices during the team's in-season time without coaches, she said.
"Everybody's really stepped up and taken a lot of personal responsibility for the team this year," Falsgraf said. "It's been really great."
To qualify for nationals, the team had three qualifying competitions. Two were held this winter, with all teams from the Eastern Conference competing.
The first competition this winter was held at the University of Delaware, where the team had five first-place finishes. Last weekend, the team traveled to the University of Pennsylvania for the last of the three competitions.
At Penn, the team increased its number of members atop the podium, grabbing seven first-place finishes, and scoring 15 more points than the competition at Delaware.
"There were some great individual performances, especially by Deborah Lee ['12], who won junior ladies long program at both Delaware and Penn, as well as making a really strong showing in the dance starts," Falsgraf said. "At Delaware, everyone who skated scored individual points in at least one start, which is really good for the team."
In addition to the transition between coaches, the team boosted its numbers, adding six freshmen this year.
According to Falsgraf, one of the team's new members, Deborah Lee '12, has been leading the team in point scoring throughout the season.
"We're really excited for nationals," Falsgraf said. "We want to win and stay champions."