SUNY Oswego's synchronized skating team, The Ice Effects, took Richmond, Va., by storm Jan. 24 to 26, winning first place in their division at the 2008 Eastern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships.
“It was the greatest feeling of accomplishment and success when we won and we knew that all the hard work and late skating practices were worth it,” said childhood education major Chelsey Hammond ’08.
United States Figure Skating divides their collegiate level into three regional divisions: Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast; and two competitive divisions: Open Collegiate and full Collegiate. The Ice Effects won first place out of 12 teams in the Open Collegiate division. A significant difference between Open Collegiate and full Collegiate is that Open Collegiate champions do not advance on to the National competition.
“The feeling is hard to describe. The word ‘unbelievable’ keeps coming to mind. But, that isn’t accurate. The team skated very well and from the judge’s marks, it was clear that they were the best team,” said Marie Shuman, Associate Director of Residence Life and Housing, who coaches the team along with Melissa Manwaring ’01, Associate Alumni Director.
"I still get chills when I think about them winning and the moment I found out they got 1st place. I'll never forget that," said Manwaring.
According to Shuman, The Ice Effects are the strongest they have ever been. The team was formed in 1999 when Melissa and her mother, Barbara, approached Marie about forming a skating team at SUNY Oswego. Until recently, The Ice Effects lacked numbers in both skaters and funds to attend far away competitions.
With persistence in recruiting new skaters and approaching the Student Association for additional funding, the team has made great strides in the last two years.
2008 is a “milestone” for The Ice Effects according to Shuman, with 11 out of the 17 skaters being freshmen. Kristen Daubenbis ’11 is a freshman psychology major.
“Winning at Easterns was so exciting,” she said. “We are already thinking about new music for next year and eagerly awaiting the arrival of the freshmen next year so we can expand our team.”
For next year, Shuman says the team is anticipating 15 returning skaters and is already aware of skaters who will be incoming freshmen. According to Manwaring and Shuman, advancing to the full Collegiate division is a goal that the team is working toward. The team meets the requirements to advance next season, however it is a decision yet to be made. The only foreseen obstacle, according to Shuman, is increasing the team’s ice time from 2.5 to 5 hours per week in order to be on par with other teams in the full Collegiate Division.
“I feel that if you strive for your personal best then everything else will fall into place,” said biology major Christine Hernandez ’09. “Our team has worked together this year and put an enormous amount of effort into our individual and team skating. All of our hard work has paid off greatly.”
Manwaring says that if alumni want to help out The Ice Effects, the best thing they can do is cheer them on. “We had former skaters at Easterns and they were thrilled to see the growth of the team and have a sense of pride and ownership in it since we are so young.”
— Kristin Quinn ’08
The Ice Effects pose after receiving their gold medals and the 1st place trophy.
The synchronized skating team during their performance.
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