Skaters’ results don’t reflect accomplishments |

Skaters’ results don’t reflect accomplishments

Melinda Mawdsley

The results don’t stand out, but the accomplishments are noteworthy.

The Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club doesn’t boast of membership numbers rivaling programs in Denver or Colorado Springs, but the girls taking part in Steamboat’s club are proving they have the ability to compete with some of the state’s best up-and-coming talent.

At the recent Southwestern Regional Championships, held Oct. 22 to 25 in Colorado Springs, six skaters represented the figure skating club in the intermediate ladies, open juvenile and pre-juvenile levels.

The top placers advanced to the Midwestern Regional.

Steamboat didn’t have anyone move on, but coach Kim Haggarty said just competing is a step in the right direction.

In a field with more than 80 competitors, Jenny Spencer took 12th, Jamie Jones came in 13th and Lauren Ventrudo was 15th in the intermediate ladies’ division.

Mackenzie Frank was 10th in the open juvenile division, while Carlee McLaughlin was 17th and Sabra Severinghaus was 15th in the pre-juvenile level.

Katie Krueger was scheduled to skate with the intermediate ladies, but a shoulder injury forced her to withdraw from the competition.

“Although the results were not great, it is an accomplishment to even be a high enough level skater to compete in regionals,” Haggarty said. “We were the only mountain town who had this many competitors.”

Spencer said she enjoyed taking part in the intermediate ladies field at regionals.

“The intermediate level is where a lot of skaters quit because it gets a lot more competitive,” Spencer said. “It’s the first level where, if you’re over 13, you can qualify for sectional and national championships. It’s very competitive.”

To even compete at regionals, the Steamboat skaters had to pass a free skating test. But those tests are often not as difficult as the actual competitions because skaters increase the level of difficulty in their programs to gain an edge.

“There’s a lot more required to place well than to actually be at this level,” Spencer said.

At regionals, the skaters opened with a long program, or free skate, to music of their choosing. They used their choreography, incorporating a mandatory footwork sequence.

Had any of Steamboat’s girls placed in the top four, they would have had to skate a short program, or the technical program, with set required elements.

The competition then would have gone back to a free skate to determine who advances to the Midwestern regional.

The members of the figure skating club were on ice for a majority of the summer in preparation for the busy fall competitive season. Once fall rolled around, the girls switched to a schedule that had them on the ice before and after school and on Sundays to prepare for individual competitions.

In addition to regionals, members of Steamboat’s club competed in the Colorado Championships in Denver and the Colorado Springs Invitational in September.

Spencer said the progress she has made has been exciting and fun. Hours of on- and off-ice work is translating into skill development that seemed impossible when she first started skating nearly seven years ago.

“I’m enjoying skating for the fun of it a lot more,” Spencer said.

All the skaters from the regional competition and the other members of the Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club will be featured during the Holiday Ice Show, scheduled for Dec. 27 to 29 at the Howelsen Ice Arena.

The show will open with holiday songs, followed by a second-half performance of “The Grinch.”

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