February 7, 2013 by conteconfidential
They spent months rising long before the sun. They worked tirelessly to perfect their intricate routine. They learned to trust each other and move as one as they skated linked together by locked arms.
And, in the end, the Eagles stood in the Olympic Oval with medals hanging around their necks.
The Boston College club synchronized figure skating team came in third place in the Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championship on Saturday in Lake Placid. It was the biggest competition of the season for the Eagles and the culmination of all their hard work.
“We had an amazing skate and, most importantly, had fun,” captain Jamie Ferraro said.
The Eagles practice their opening pose at Conte Forum before the event (photo credit: Jen Dobias)
The championship wasn’t lacking in drama. The Eagles struggled during their official practice in Lake Placid. Tensions were high, and moves that had become second nature seemed as difficult as the day they were first learned.
“There were some definite rough moments, some falls and some of the elements were just off,” head coach Martha Buckley said. “This would rattle a lesser team. Instead we regrouped, refocused and got prepared to compete the next morning.”
The seniors helped to rally their teammates by reminding them why they were there: to skate the best that they could, to have fun and to enjoy being in a place of such historical significance.
And, when they took the ice for their performance, everything clicked.
They were fast. They engaged the judges and the crowd with their enthusiasm and high energy. They completed all of their challenging maneuvers and visual effects. The moment the music stopped, they knew that they had done something special.
“We really came together as a team on the ice and just enjoyed the performance,” said team president Stephanie Betzler. “As excited as we were about the results, it’s that ending feeling more than anything that’s so great.”
Added Buckley: “Results are always a nice bonus, but you always want to leave the ice knowing that you did your job and that you left it all out there. To walk away with no regrets. I can confidently say we did just that this weekend.”
(photo credit: Jen Dobias)
Only Boston University and the University of Maryland topped BC in the field of 11 in the Open Collegiate Division. One judge on the panel awarded BC first place; another awarded it second.
“We were told that our program was very fun to watch, and I think that helped us a lot,” Ferraro said.
One of the main reasons why the Eagles scored so well was because their passion, the same passion that helped them to get up at 5 a.m. twice a week for practice, shined through.
“They attacked their skate, committed to the performance and really fed off one another’s energy,” Buckley said. “It was absolutely awesome to watch.”
For a team that has particularly strong chemistry, saying goodbye to the class of 2013 at the end of the year will be difficult. The seniors were so committed to taking the team to the next level that they asked Buckley, a former varsity synchronized skater at the University of Miami (Ohio), to be their coach.
But the freshmen, some of whom had to hitch a ride with BCPD to get to practice because the Newton bus doesn’t run that early, show promise.
Asked to give a standout performer, Ferraro and Betzler both named the class of 2016, with Betzler highlighting Michelle Dong in particular for “her exceptional artistic performance and killer photography skills.”
“They all handled [the competition] extremely well and had a great time so I could not be happier for them,” Ferraro said. “I’m jealous that this is just the beginning of their time on the team here at BC.”
The seniors have at least one more chance to skate in a competition. The Eagles are going to the Connecticut Classic on Sunday.
Their goal is the same as it always is, and it won’t be surprising if the end result is as well.
By Jen Dobias
(For more pictures of the club synchronized figure skating team’s last home practice before its big competition, visit Conte Confidential‘s Facebook page. Also, check out our earlier article on the team!)