Club ice skating rallies to bring home national championship in N.H.
Published: Monday, April 29, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 22:04
On the bus ride back from day one of competition at the U.S. Intercollegiate Figure Skating National Championships, Delaware’s collegiate figure skating team president Julianne DiMura said she was not sure if her team would be able to close the 30-point advantage opened up by host Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.
Regardless of her team’s standing in its final competition of the season, DiMura decided to stand up in front of her peers and drive home the importance of competing fiercely in day two.
“In those kinds of situations, everyone is just stressed out and nervous,” DiMiura said. “We really wanted everyone to come into the second day focused, prepared and to take everything with a grain of salt and only focus on their skating and not worry about anything else.”
In the second day of competition, Delaware stormed back to take a two-point lead into the final event. Although the national championship was on the line, junior Brogan Kavanagh said she had no idea that her performance in the Senior Long program would determine whether the team would emerge victorious.
With her teammates cheering her on relentlessly, Kavanagh nailed all seven jump passes, three spins, a spiral sequence and a footwork sequence during her four-and-a-half minute routine.
“I do really well under pressure,” Kavanagh said. “ I don’t really freak out or choke up or anything like that, especially when it comes to skating.”
After it was announced that Kavanagh had received second place, team vice president Megan Marschall said she already knew Delaware would be crowned champion.
Even with the win in hand, Marschall said it was still extremely important for the team to display good sportsmanship and waited until the official announcement to celebrate.
“We all huddled up in a circle with our arms all around each other,” Marschall said. “I remember the people next to me were shaking because they were so nervous. The moment that they announced we had won it was just the best feeling in the whole world.”
The road to the national championship began last fall when the team traveled to Liberty University and finished in second place. Senior Kyle Herring, who joined the squad this year after retiring from Team USA figure skating, said the team lost out on several starts and had to fight from behind throughout the competition.
The second-place finish was good enough to qualify Delaware for nationals, but the team still had to host its own competition at the Fred Rust Ice Arena before having the opportunity to achieve its season-long goal of winning a championship.
Marschall said as a student-run organization, it was up to her to plan the competition, while also making sure the skaters were physically prepared to execute their routines.
“It was a lot of planning calling the judges, getting them hotel rooms, booking them flights, finding them rental cars, getting them food,” Marschall said. “It was a lot of work.”
Delaware went on to win the competition, beating out defending champion Dartmouth and building momentum into the national championship. Leading up to nationals, the team had practice at 6:40 a.m. each Thursday morning.
Herring, who acts as both a coach and skater, said the hard work and dedication of each team member was what propelled Delaware to realizing its goals and sent its seniors off on top.
“Everyone else had written us off except for our own team,” Herring said. “We felt like we deserved it. We worked very hard this year and we are an extremely close-knit group. It took everyone on the entire team to push through the 30-point deficit and come back to actually win the national championship.”