By: Christopher Walsh
The Sacred Heart University figure skating team is off to a hot start on their 2017-2018 season after recently placing 5th at their competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ruby Jusas, Amanda Witkowski, and Tessa Peredy all placed second place in their short program events, which gave the team 4 points towards their total score in the end.
Figure skating is a very individual sport, so it is important for the student athletes on the team to train themselves so that they are ready for the competition and individual performances.
The skaters practice both as a team and as an individual depending on scheduling.
Sacred Heart does not have an ice rink on campus so practicing takes a lot of planning to get to the rink.
Even with these challenges, the team has still achieved recent great success.
“Our success can be attributed to a variety of things,” said sophomore Tessa Peredy. “The individual motivation from each teammate helps build the team motivation.”
Figure skating is an individual based sport as competitors perform by themselves and their scores contribute to the team overall score.
Currently there are 14 girls on the club figure skating team. However, two are studying abroad so everyone on the team is relied on heavily to contribute to the team’s current success.
“Although we are individuals on the ice, we all must work together to support one another,” said sophomore Amanda Witkowski. “It’s that support that helps us focus at competitions and succeed.”
However, this great success hasn’t come easy for the club figure skating team.
Sacred Heart is a relatively small school and figure skating is not a heavily populated sport in general, creating challenges when competing against larger schools.
Only having 12 performers at a competition is very small compared to a big school with a lot more students in their programs.
“With such a small team, many of us must compete in two programs, as well as ice dance events, and team events,” said Witkowski. “We may be small, but we are mighty, and we use all of our talents to fill out the events.”
Peredy and Witkowski are both biology majors on the pre-med track so finding time to practice at the off campus rink and balance school work is challenging. Time management is very important to both to be successful student athletes.
“I am very committed to both school and skating. Finding balance between the two is very challenging because I try to do the best as possible in both,” said Peredy. “I have to manage my time extremely well, which can often be tough. As we get deeper into the competitive season I sometimes have to either put skating or school work over social situations in order to get everything done in time.”
With Nationals in April, the team has their eyes on the prize.
Both Peredy and Witkowski believe that the team is strong enough to achieve this goal, with continued training and support of everyone.
“Most importantly, I want for the team to advance to nationals. It would be a dream to end up in Denver, Co. in April for nationals,” said Witkowski.