Synchronized skating club building recognition at GV

Courtesy Photo / Olivia Ziegler
2011-2012 Synchronized Skating team at their Grand Valley spirit day practice

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Olivia Ziegler 2011-2012 Synchronized Skating team at their Grand Valley spirit day practice

Zach Sepanik

The cold of winter is usually a sign of ice, and the sport most synonymous with that here at Grand Valley State University is ice hockey. But the club synchronized skating team is making its name on the ice as well.

“It is the entire team doing different formations and elements, or moves, on the ice together. That is how we get judged,” said senior team captain Danielle Rodolfo. “Our team members, they are all figure skaters. We have a wide range of people with some having never done synchronized skating and some having done it since they were kids.”

After coming on the GVSU campus in 1998, the synchronized skating club team has just recently made a resurgence, following a short absence from competition prior to 2006. The team is currently comprised of 11 members and looking to build.

“I had never done synchronized skating, so it is not a matter of if you have never done it before,” said junior Olivia Ziegler, also the public relations officer for the club. “If you can skate, we are definitely welcoming anyone who would be interested. It is a definitely a different sport. It is not your average football or baseball. We are always open to people joining and teaching them.”

The team practices on ice twice a week: Monday mornings at 6 and Wednesday nights, usually until midnight. They also hold mandatory workouts as a team twice a week for fitness, and usually an off-ice practice, consisting of choreography work, as well as head and arm placements.

“You are only strong as your weakest player and that is why we all have to work together,” Ziegler said. “It is more impressive to be all together. You can do really hard elements, but it might not look as good. The whole point is to make it really synchronized.”

The club team performs at Grand Rapids Griffins games, home contests for the Muskegon Lumberjacks, local exhibitions against other Michigan and Midwest teams and even at Rosa Parks Circle. They even began to form sponsorships last season to raise money for buses and other funds.

“For some of the girls, it is the first time for them being on a synchronized skating team,” said junior Kaylee Bruckner, the treasurer. “If you were an individual skater, you can start working more for the team and then using your skills, which will help you with synchronized skating.”

The team’s first competition this year is at the Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Classic Friday through Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. They will also skate at the Griffins game on Jan. 20 to prepare for their biggest competition, the Midwestern Synchronized Skating Sectional Championships on the weekend of Jan. 27.

“Last year we placed really high there for any of the competitions we had been in as a team,” Bruckner said. “That was a really big improvement going from our first competition in December to this one we ended the season with in January. We had another competition in between there where we were hearing other teams and parents telling us we had really improved. We just want to keep improving.”

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