The Colorado State University figure skating team glided into ninth place in the nation after getting third in their region.
The women who qualified for nationals traveled to Vacaville, California, for the competition hosted by University of California, Berkley.
According to the club President Fran Tait, the skating club has grown tremendously since they first arrived on campus about nine years ago. Tait said when she first joined the team, there were only about six people on the team and now they have 22 members.
According to Tait, skating can be a very mentally draining sport, but through a positive atmosphere, she hopes everyone on the team will continue to love skating.
“It’s been life changing (being on the team) because I really want the girls to enjoy the sport as much as I do,” Tait said. “As president, I’ve been able to really share my passion for the sport. I feel like how I share my passion and how I’ve shared my motivation has really gotten girls to commit.”
According to Kaylee Holloway, who is a senior on the team, Tait is the reason why Holloway fell back in love with the sport.
“Meeting Fran and seeing her passion and love for the sport really reminded me about how incredibly powerful and special figure skating is,” Holloway said.
Holloway really demonstrated her admiration for Tait when she was asked to step in for her in the national competition when Tait fell ill with appendicitis.
Holloway said that originally, she was not planning on competing in nationals. She said she only had a week to prepare for the competition, but it turned out to be enough time.
“(Because of the short preparation time), I wasn’t able to psych myself out at all and I skated one of the best programs I’ve ever skated in a competition,” Holloway said.
Holloway said she is not only proud of her own personal accomplishments, but she is also impressed with her team.
“Everybody did such an amazing job and worked so hard to get there,” Holloway said. “It was an incredible experience.”
Addison Cheek, a sophomore chemical-biological engineering major and treasurer for the skate club, said this year was her first time competing in nationals.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it was a really cool experience,” Cheek said. “I had never competed at such a big competition before. I was definitely blindsided going into it, so I really had to skate the best program I could.”
According to Cheek, she was a little disappointed in the program she skated, but she said it was an overall good learning experience for her.
“I definitely know what to prepare for now, and there’s definitely a lot of hope for the future,” Cheek said.
Cheek said going to nationals this year really meant a lot to the team, because this is the first time that the CSU figure skating team has been able to seriously compete at this high of a level.
She said she hopes to see CSU become more competitive, and is thrilled that she had the experience to attend and compete in nationals.
“For me, it was great being able to see the team grow and being able to go to nationals this year when we didn’t even place last year,” Cheek said. “We worked really hard all summer recruiting skaters and making sure everyone made it to practice on time. We were all really proud to be there.”
Collegian Reporter Pamela Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @pb_shapiro.