Skating figure eights

It may come as a surprise for some of you to find out that the University has its own figure skating club. Believe it or not, it’s true!

Club Figure Skating at U.Va. has been around for a few years now, but this past October marked the first season the team was able to compete against other collegiate club teams throughout the country.

The intercollegiate figure skating competition season is the fastest growing aspect of competitive figure skating. Governed by the U.S. Figure Skating’s Collegiate Program Committee, there are three individual competitions that comprise a club figure skating conference.

Each competition is hosted at a different intercollegiate figure skating club. Skaters compete individually categorized as free skate, solo dance, or part of a team skating event. Skaters earn points for how well their individual routine goes, and the individual points are tallied in order to award points to the club team as a whole.

Each skater and team placing in the top-five rankings throughout the individual events earns their college top points. The three colleges with the most points throughout the season in each conference are invited to compete at the U.S. Intercollegiate Team Figure Skating Championships.

There are three conferences that exist in the United States: the Eastern Conference, consisting of 20 teams; the Midwestern Conference, consisting of 10 teams; and the Pacific Coast, which consists of three teams. The Virginia Club Figure Skating Team is a member of the Eastern Conference, competing with other schools along the East Coast.

“The collegiate circuit is different than other competitions,” second-year Outreach Chair Lia Cattaneo said. “You’re competing against people your own age with the same priorities.”

The team consists of 10-15 skaters in total, and five of which skate competitively. Any dues-paying skater is counted as a member of the team, but only those that choose to participate in competitions are counted as competitive skaters.

The team practices every Tuesday morning from 6:30 a.m.-8:00 a.m. at the Main Street Skating Rink in downtown Charlottesville.

“The rink has been really good to us as we try to break into competing with the club team,” third-year captain Stephanie Colen said. “We split the ice costs with the Charlottesville Skating Club and they give us a really good deal.”

The team itself is segmented into different ability levels ranging from novice skaters to more advanced skaters. Although there is no formal coaching staff, the team frequently works with two graduate students, as well as collaborates among itself in order to develop routines.

“Choreographing ourselves is something that skaters are not usually asked to do,” Colen said. “There are minor details that you can’t feel and need to see, which is a cool experience for us.”

Because the club team offers spots for all levels of skating, they are currently seeking skaters for next year’s season. In addition to expanding their competition team, the figure skating team has put its hat in the ring with the U.S. Figure Skating Association in order to host a competition in Charlottesville.

“The goal for this year was to skate our best and figure out what we should do for next year, and we definitely accomplished that,” Cattaneo said.

Interested students can like the organization on Facebook to view updates for open days to go skate with the team, as well as other promotional activities meant to raise awareness about the Club Figure Skating team and get more people on the ice.

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