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(L-R) Brooke Weidendorf, Alicia Bonebright, Haley Templin, Stephanie Blanchard, Courtney Koenig, Elise Viger, Caitlyn Nygaard, Kelsey Eibler, Alessandra Parris, Shannon Kinley, Hailey Carlson, Amy Cimperman, Mallorie Baron
Imagine thirteen ice-skaters moving in unison to upbeat music without losing rhythm. Imagine keeping the formation perfect; the distance between each skater exactly the same at the beginning of the move as it is at the end.
It sounds difficult, nearly impossible, but the UMD Open-Collegiate Synchronized Skating Team is taking on its 5th year with no sign of folding under the pressure. For a visual example of the talent and intricacy of the sport, be sure and watch the video.
The UMD team also welcomes skaters from SCC, UWS, LSC and WITC, guaranteeing an open door policy if students from another campus would like to participate.
“It takes a lot of dedication,” said senior Brooke Weidendorf. “We practice at six in the morning and late in the evening. No matter what time it is, we strive to give our best so that when we do perform, we have perfected our moves and established our sequence. It becomes second nature.”
For a synchronized team to flow in unison, individual skaters must be competent at a variety of skating skills, including speed, footwork and ice presence. The UMD team is composed of a group of students whose mantra is about respect, responsibility and opportunity. The outreach includes having a presence at competitions in Duluth and the surrounding region.
“We make continuous efforts in personal development, leadership, and service, both on and off the ice,” said Weidendorf. “We volunteer in the community with bell ringing for the Salvation Army. We hold fundraisers to help with team costs, and we passionately believe that it’s just as important to connect with teammates during and after practice.”
In order to maintain team connectedness, the members organize gatherings where they can bond beyond the sport. Dinner, movies, Bentleyville, bowling…once a month, they find a way to socialize and spend time together in Duluth. It isn't always easy to match schedules and take time away from academics and skating practice. "All of us are busy achieving our dreams," said Weidendorf. "We work hard as students and as athletes, but it's good to step away. It's good to have balance."
Competitions for 2012-2013
December 1-2: Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Skating Classic Ann Arbor, MI
December 16: Maplewood Synchronized Skating Classic, Minneapolis, Minn.
January 24-26: Midwestern/Pacific Coast Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships Kalamazoo, MI
Written and Designed by Christiana Kapsner, September 2012
Team photo on the bridge by Ali Michie
Skating photos by Seth Iverson
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