Figure skaters land in eighth place out of 16 teams at first National Intercollegiate Finals
Liberty University’s figure skating team recorded an impressive showing at the U.S. Figure Skating National Intercollegiate Finals this past Friday and Saturday at Adrian College’s Arrington Ice Arena, finishing in the top half of the field on its first try.
The Lady Flames, who qualified for nationals for the first time in 2019-20 before COVID-19 protocols canceled that competition, placed eighth out of 16 teams with 169 points, ahead of the University California Berkeley (159.5), Sacred Heart (154.5), and Southeast Section rival Penn State (146.5) among others.
“We are very thrilled about that, and I am beyond proud of them all and also to the former team members that paved the way for this day to be a reality,” Liberty sixth-year Head Coach Dawn Harter said.
Former Eastern Section foe Boston University won the competition with 313.5 points followed by Southeast champion Delaware (275.5), host Adrian (253.5), Dartmouth (240.5), NYU (200.5), Trine (199), and UCLA (195).
After Friday’s opening ceremonies, the Lady Flames started the competition with fourth- and fifth-place Intermediate short program performances by freshmen Rachel Berger and Emma Richards, respectively, before junior Olivia (Ford) Walker finished third out of 15 skaters in Silver Level Pattern Dance, earning a bronze medal.
In the Pre-Juvenile free skate competition, juniors Marissa Harter, Kristine Neumeyer, and Sarah Hicks landed in second, fifth, and sixth place, with Harter receiving a silver medal after her routine.
Hicks and Marissa Harter later placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in Preliminary Pattern Dance and third and fifth out of 11 skaters in Juvenile Free Dance, with Hicks earning a bronze.
In the Preliminary free skate, senior Hannah Bruckner led the Lady Flames with her sixth-place showing out of 18 skaters before freshman Kamden Carrera and junior Emma Marnik finished sixth and eighth, respectively, in the Juvenile free skate.
Richards placed fifth and sophomore Rebekah McBrayer 11th in the Intermediate free skate; junior Olivia Epperson finished seventh out of 14 skaters in the High Beginner free skate and senior Courtney Kirschke placed eighth out of 23 in the Senior short program.
Junior Haley Jordan finished runner-up in the Preliminary Plus free skate; senior Abigail Judson placed eighth in Intermediate free dance; sophomore Sophie Flatt landed in 10th out of 15 competitors in the Junior free skate; Claire (Rivas) Cook placed ninth out of 21 competitors in the Senior free skate program; graduate Sarah Embry placed 11th out of 15 competitors in the Pre-Preliminary free skate; freshman Megan Voigt took 12th out of 15 skaters in the Junior short program; and junior Jamie Gordon and Walker finished 13th and 14th, respectively, out of 22 skaters in the Senior free dance.
Plenty of friends, parents, and team alumni cheered for the Lady Flames in person, including alumna Angela Bosher (’21), who now serves as a Collegiate Ambassador for U.S. Figure Skating.
Members of the figure skating team will join Liberty’s synchronized skating team in performing at the April 23 “PraiseFest on Ice,” starting at 1:30 p.m. in the LaHaye Ice Center, with the theme “Mercy, Peace, and Love.”