BY NICOLE BOTT
The Sacred Heart University club figure skating team traveled to Denver to compete at the U.S. Intercollegiate Nationals Championships on April 15.
“Two of the three competitions were rewarding because we excelled and placed fourth in the first and last competition. The second competition is where we placed fifth, but it made us work harder for the last competition because our goal was to be at Nationals,” said junior Brianna Severino.
The athletes knew what they wanted their end goal to be at the end of the season. They kept in mind that it would take hard work, dedication, and team bonding to achieve success.
“Beginning in November 2017, 61 schools across the United States began competing for one of the 12 invitations to attend this national event,” said head coach Lisa Fedick in a submission to the Club Sports website. “When Sacred Heart was called onto the ice at the opening ceremonies, the true depth of our accomplishment really hit home.”
Figure skating is seen as an individual sport since skaters are competing for their own personal score. Coming into a college level team, these skaters had to learn how to work as a team instead of competing for themselves. It matters how well their teammates did because their scores are totaled together, which can bring the team up or down in the rankings.
This was the Pioneers’ first time competing at Nationals in seven years and traveling to a different state. The environment at the rink in Denver was a challenge because it was a change in pace for the skaters.
“A huge challenge for not only our team but all of the teams who qualified for Nationals, was the altitude difference” said junior Sarah Kleinman.
Other teams competing at the “Terrific Twelve” Nationals brought teams of up to 30 athletes. Each team is allowed 30 event starts, and the Pioneers were only able to fill 28 of those spots with their limited number of athletes.
“I couldn’t be prouder of our team. Just being able to qualify for Nationals with our small team of 12 is an unbelievable accomplishment,” said sophomore Tessa Peredy.
The Pioneers were competing against teams that they have never gone against before. They took advantage of the opportunity to be challenged as skaters and witness what other teams bring to the table.
“I️ think the competition was intense, but I️ don’t think our team was fazed because we were skating with and competing against the best of the best. The greatest thing I️ realized is that we fit right in with the competition,” said Kleinman.
Competing on the national stage is an accomplishment that will likely remain with these athletes forever. The athletes on the team have been skating since they were young and to see this dream come true was life-changing.
“I️ never thought I️ would have had the opportunity to skate on national ice, so it makes the years of hard work and early morning practices feel even more worth it. I️ was so excited to meet so many new skaters. This competition made me fall in love with skating all over again,” said Kleinman.