Fifteen years since their final qualification, the Cornell Determine Skating Membership’s competitors crew positioned eighth on the 2023 Nationwide Intercollegiate Last, accumulating eight medals and taking residence gold in a single class.
The Cornell Determine Skating Membership despatched its 25-member competitors crew to the College of California, Los Angeles from Friday, April 14 to Sunday, April 16 to compete on the nationwide competitors. The ultimate is the highest-ranking collegiate determine skating competitors and is hosted yearly by the US Determine Skating Affiliation.
The competitors crew received gold on the NIF throughout their first go to in 2003. Their most up-to-date qualification occurred in 2008 after they positioned fifth total. This yr, they positioned eighth out of sixteen groups complete.
The nation’s undergraduate determine skating golf equipment are divided into the 4 regional conferences of Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and Pacific Coast. Cornell’s crew is positioned within the Northeast division, the place a few of the highest-ranking determine skating applications within the nation compete — together with Boston College, New York College and Dartmouth Faculty.
Qualifying for the NIF concerned the CUFSC taking part in three regional competitions at New York College, the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how and the Skating Membership of Utica, respectively. The competitors crew fulfilled the Determine Skating Affiliation’s requirement of inserting within the high 4 groups at every occasion, securing them a spot within the NIF together with fifteen different groups.
The competitors was divided into forty-three occasions underneath seven classes — free skate, free dance, sample dance, brief program and excessive, intermediate and low crew maneuvers. These classes have been divided by gender after which into completely different subclassifications that represented varied dance types and talent ranges, such because the quickstep, starlight waltz and silver samba.
The rivals spanned all class years and talent ranges, however the Cornell crew largely consisted of freshmen and sophomores skaters resulting from an inflow of membership following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody on the crew is totally new and [had not] gone to Nationals earlier than,” Victoria Whittle ’25 mentioned. “We knew we have been in a [competitive] area, however we weren’t precisely certain what to anticipate.”
“It was my first time touring far for a contest,” mentioned Ciara Flaherty ’26. “The competitors was much more unpredictable as a result of we couldn’t gauge how folks from different faculties [would perform].”
Preparation for the championship required hours of dedication from individuals. Their practices even overlapped with college breaks, in response to Whittle.
“I skated over [spring] break, at practices thrice per week, public skate and whereas working as a trainer’s assistant for a P.E. class,” Whittle mentioned. “It ranged from 5 to eight hours per week on the ice.”
The crew is led by head coach Robyn Bentley, who can also be a determine skating bodily schooling teacher at Cornell. Bentley coached the skaters in preparation for the competitors and supplied skaters with entry to outdoors teaching resulting from Lynah Rink’s restricted hours.
The crew’s dedication paid off, successful them quite a few medals throughout a number of classes. The crew gathered one gold medal within the senior males’s championship free skate to Nick Hsieh ’25, three silver medals and 4 bronze medals.
The competitors crew went to the NIF collectively with the purpose of scoring within the high ten, and so they have been ecstatic to study they’d positioned eighth.
“It was such a core reminiscence [to hear] our closing outcome be introduced and notice we have been within the high half,” Whittle mentioned.
The crew hopes to compete within the NIF once more sooner or later and encourages potential skaters to contemplate becoming a member of the CUFSC, both usually or competitively.
“We need to welcome [new skaters] and assist them get to competitions,” Bentley mentioned. “When folks love and luxuriate in skating, the [competitive] atmosphere is completely different and extra gratifying for these concerned.”