The Boston College Synchronized Skating Team earned a slot in the national competition held this past weekend in Lowell.
An Altogether Promising Season
In only its third year, BC synchronized skate team tasted success
By Mark Sullivan
Think Rockettes on ice, and you have an idea of the Boston College Synchronized Skating Team that competed in the Nationals at Tsongas Arena in Lowell last week after winning bronze at the Eastern Sectionals in Buffalo.
"I like it better than singles - there's a team spirit," said club Vice President Krista Benson '07, one of the 20 young women who skate as one during a successful routine. "It's hard to synchronize - but it's a fun challenge."
Coached on a volunteer basis by Wayland resident Merita Mullen, head coach of the medal-winning synchronized-skating teams at the Colonial Figure Skating Club in Boxboro, the BC team, in its third season, is a young club: Nearly half its skaters are freshmen, and it was making its first appearance in the Eastern Synchronized Team Skating Championship when it medaled in the Collegiate Division at Buffalo on Jan. 29. The team placed 10th at the Nationals this past Saturday.
At their final 10 p.m. practice at Conte Forum last week before the Nationals, nearly two-dozen team members rehearsed steps in the lobby like chorus-line hoofers in "42nd Street" before lacing up their skates to take the ice.
Their version of doing laps was to fall into formation and wheel around the ice in a sweeping conga line, in a more elegant version of the old roller-derby whip, the sound of blades clacking in unison followed by the "swoosh" of a wave on the beach.
"You start slow, learn a couple of sections at a time, and try to avoid the big collisions at the beginning," explained club Vice President Meredith Halpin '05, who said the club has practiced two hours a week on the ice and two hours a week off the ice since October.
Their four-and-a-half-minute routine for the US National Synchronized Team Skating Championship this past weekend was to be performed to selections from the Kevin Costner movies "Robin Hood" and "Waterworld" and follow a Robin Hood theme.
"We start the program in the shape of an arrow and shoot up the ice," said Halpin. The routine includes compulsory footwork and the performance of a moving circle within a circle, she said, and "ends with each skater shooting an arrow."
When everything clicks, Benson said, there's "a feeling of accomplishment, of pride.
"When we skated at the Easterns, I was so proud of what we'd done, pulling it together and showing what we could do," she said.
Ainsley Jones '08 said: "You know it when you nail it."