Synchronized skaters savor competing at Collegiate National Championships in Colorado Springs
Competing at the United States Synchronized Skating Collegiate National Championships, held March 5 at the Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., was a memorable highlight of Liberty University’s synchronized skating season.
“That was an amazing experience, for sure,” junior Emma Marnik said. “I never would have dreamed that I would have gotten that opportunity to be able to represent my school and go to nationals. It was in Colorado Springs this year, which was really special. We got to train on the same ice some Olympians train on, so that was just an experience that we not only got to share with each other, but it’s something that I’ll remember.”
The Lady Flames placed 13th out of 14 of the best Collegiate programs in the nation, with Miami (Ohio) University winning its 20th team championship and setting an all-time collegiate high score with 116.95 points, followed by Adrian College (105.74), Western Michigan (104.30), and Michigan (97.95).
“This year, we made the transition back up to the Collegiate division, after skating last season at Open Collegiate, so that was a huge goal for us, and to be able to skate at nationals,” Liberty Head Coach Emily Hughes said. “It was a challenging year, we had a really young team with only three upperclassmen, so we were working on rebuilding our skills and getting back to a level where we want to compete moving forward.”
“I’m very proud of our performance (at nationals),” Marnik added. “I personally think it was one of our best performances that we put out this season. Even though we didn’t place super high, we got to really improve throughout the season, so it was really cool seeing that improvement and being able to showcase that at nationals.”
Sophomore Rebekah McBrayer and freshman Emma Rietveld were thrilled to compete intercollegiately for the first time this season.
“This was the first year back from COVID, so we actually got to travel and spend time together, and that was very beneficial for the team and very exciting,” McBrayer said. “We got to go through obstacles and skate the best that we could. It was so exciting to get to travel with the whole team … and compete against other schools, and to just see the talent and put forth our best work.”
“This was my first year ever doing synchro, so I had no idea what to expect going into it, but I loved the team aspect,” Rietveld added. “I’ve never been part of a team before and just having a group of people to kind of do life with. It was definitely a challenging season. There were a lot of obstacles with illnesses and injuries and just COVID restrictions, but overall, I’m so glad to have done synchro this year, and it was an amazing season.”
The synchronized skating team will join members of Liberty’s figure skating team in performing at the April 23 “PraiseFest,” starting at 1:30 p.m. in the LaHaye Ice Center, with the theme “Mercy, Peace, and Love.”
Video edited by Caitlyn Brown/Club Sports Video & Media Assistant