Denver, CO - The Sacred Heart Club Figure Skating program returned home this week after their trip to the "Terrific Twelve" out in Colorado. This was the teams first trip to the National Stage in 7 years, and the relatively young and undermanned team got their first taste of national exposure. Head Coach Lisa Fedick wrote a complete summary of their trip to Denver.
Submitted by Lisa Fedick, Sacred Heart University Figure Skating Club Team, Head Coach
I was very proud of our SHU team! Beginning in November 2017, sixty‐one schools across the United States, began competing for one of the twelve invitations to attend this national event. When Sacred Heart was called onto the ice at the opening ceremonies, the true depth of our accomplishment really hit home. It was almost overwhelming and most certainly humbling to see our team skating behind the SHU banner, truly an honor to be there. Each team was asked to select a “pump up” song, that would be played as they took the ice. By a unanimous vote, our skaters chose “We are Family” by Sister Sledge. I couldn’t agree more with their choice. Throughout the up and downs of this season, our team has become a family, a group of sisters, who have learned to rely on each other and work as a cohesive unit and for me, this has been a key element in our success.
The overall quality of skating at this nationals was stellar. Every athlete participating understood that this was their stage and their moment. Although we remained mentally tough during the qualification process, performing on a national stage proved to be new territory for our young team and each skater uniquely dealt with the pressure. For any athlete to peak at the most opportune moment in the season is very difficult. Sarah Kleinman, class of 2019, skated a flawless program and a personal career best performance in the Junior Ladies short, earning her a fourth‐place finish. I would also like to congratulate Amanda Witkowski, class of 2020, for successfully landing her first double axel jump in competition during the High Team Maneuvers event.
The biggest challenge that we faced in Denver was the small size of our team. We went with ten skaters and could only fill twenty‐eight of the thirty event starts available to each team. Unfortunately, we had two skaters studying abroad and another two injured this spring. Having a team less than half the size of most of our competitors is a disadvantage in that our athletes have to prepare for and compete in four to five events during a very short time frame, while skaters on the larger teams will typically skate one or two events during the competition.
The Sacred Heart final team standing of twelfth place was disappointing to me, as it really didn’t represent the overall quality of our performances in Denver. The scoring system awards team points from first to fifth places only, we had seven 6th place and three 7th place finishes in very large groups, which definitely didn’t work to our advantage in the big picture.
During the closing ceremonies, the seniors from every team were called to center ice for a photo. The fact that Sacred Heart was not represented there made my heart soar! We are already back at work preparing for the 2018‐2019 season, lessons learned, demons eradicated, summer training plans in place, we are determined to return to this event next year!
The team looks to improve on their extraordinary 2017-18 campaign next year with their young core returning.
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