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Figure Skating glides to Las Vegas nationals

By Danielle Vuotto Staff Reporter
On November 3, 2010

Earlier this month, Sacred Heart University's intercollegiate figure skating club took first place at the International Skating Institute Adult National Championship held in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition to breaking a ten-year winning streak held by the Tampa Bay Skating Academy, the girls received the Erika Amundsen Adult Champs award for scoring the most overall team points, making the competition what she considers to be a dream come true. "Taking first place was incredible," said sophomore Monica Malcomson, the team's co-vice president and artistic director. "A collegiate team has never won this specific title in the history of the competition itself. This win was extremely important."In the United States, figure skating can be competitive or recreational. Competitive skaters are required to complete the U.S. testing structure to qualify for competitions. Recreational skaters who like to challenge their abilities may also participate in the testing. One program for the sport is the United States Figure Skating Association . Their "Learn to Skate Program" is where skaters prove their abilities to the associations appointed judges. The USFSA has over 700 clubs in the U.S in the Eastern, Midwestern, and Pacific coasts. Sacred Heart's club is a member of both USFSA and the ISI. Tests are evaluated on a pass or retry basis consisting of several levels. Some of those levels include moves in the field, free skate, pairs, compulsory dance, and free dance, to name a few. Competitive skating levels are not determined by age, however in some competitions, there are age requirements. There are currently 15 members in the university's club of various skating backgrounds and levels. Malcomson, for example, skated professionally with "Disney On Ice" in their "Ice Tour of High School Musical." Other members of the team have competed on a national level while some, having rediscovered their love for the sport, are returning to the ice. There are even some members who are just learning to skate. But despite their varying talents, the team strives to encourage one another."We support each other and learn from each other no matter our background or skill level," said Malcomson. "I believe that this is what makes our team stand out in relation to other collegiate teams," she said.Part of the clubs mission statement, found on the university's website says the club, "hopes to enrich the lives of students through competitive and recreational figure skating." The girls prepared for the competition by putting extra hours of practice in, mostly before dawn, causing coach Lisa Fedick to be concerned about the possibility of overuse, injuries, and exhaustion. "But they did it," Fedick said. "They maintained their class work, stayed healthy, trained hard, and got it done."The girls attribute much of their success to having a dedicated coach."She does so much for us, and whenever something needs to be done or ice time is needed, she always come through," said senior Sara-Beth Carbonaro. "I am lucky to have her as a coach."There are high hopes to put Sacred Heart on the map for being a great collegiate figure skating team. ."This year we really pulled it together as a team and as a club sport," Malcomson said. "We are active athletes of the SHU club family and our newest title of ISI Adult National Champions is only the first of many titles to come."With the support of one another and the school community, members are certain that this isn't the last of their achievements. "We will never let the ice melt beneath our feet," Malcomson said. "SHU will definitely be hearing a lot more from this team."With any well deserved victory comes a list of people needing to be thanked."I have never been so proud to be a part of anything in my life, as I was in this victory," Fedick said. "And I have to add a thank you to Ray Mencio in SHU Club Sports and our club advisor, Karen Gusatelle, for believing in all of us and giving the team the opportunities to achieve our goals." Anyone interested in joining the club or learning how to skate may attend the free-skate events held at Wonderland Ice, located in Bridgeport. Dates and times are announ ced via email.

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