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National silver medalists

Photo courtesy of UDFS

UD Collegiate Figure Skating Team second in national competition

The University of Delaware Collegiate Figure Skating Team (UDFS) qualified for the U.S. Figure Skating Intercollegiate Team Championships, recently traveling to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, for the national competition. Skaters from the top nine schools in the country gave their best efforts for nationals and after a long and hard-fought battle, UDFS won silver.

UDFS has been on the podium at nationals every year since its inception in 2000. The team has won six national titles since 2002, including the last four leading up to this year’s championship.

East Coast rival, Boston University, took the win with 112 points. UDFS defended its title with the season’s best performances by many of its members. The UD skaters finished with 93 points. Adrian College collected 79 points for third place and Dartmouth College finished fourth with 46 points.

Team president Courtney Taylor looks back on her four years with UDFS with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Over the course of those years, she has been a high point earner for the team, competing in Senior Ladies Short Program, Senior Ladies Championship Free Skate, and High Team Maneuvers. She also moved her way up through the ice dance ranks, competing at the Preliminary, Juvenile, and Intermediate levels.

“Skating at my last nationals for UDFS was very emotional for me, personally,” Taylor said. “I’ve been skating and competing for over 10 years now, and I’ve never had more fun competing than I have competing for my team.”

Taylor said this feeling is “bittersweet,” saying, “Being able to compete for them too has been the most fun I’ve ever had since I started figure skating when I was little. It’s a completely different feeling when you have a team supporting you out on the ice, and it makes the experience so much more rewarding. You aren’t just doing it for yourself anymore, you’re doing it for yourself and for your team.”

Taylor is graduating along with two other UDFS members this year. Amanda Chasten will finish up her time at UD with a degree in food science. Her competitive history with UDFS includes competing on the Low Maneuvers Team.

Team treasurer Rex Lai is a junior and will finish up his degree starting next year in Thomas Jefferson University’s pharmaceutical program. He has competed in both Juvenile and Intermediate Men’s Free Skate as well as Intermediate Men’s Short Program.

“The past three years have been amazing. Being on the team was one of the best decisions I've ever made. I love everyone on the team and I feel honored to have been a member of UDFS,” he said.

All members honored both Lai and Taylor following their last performances at nationals by running down from the stands to embrace them in a group hug when they exited the ice. “When I went back to the locker room and tried to take my skates off, I was in awe that I had just skated the last program of my life,” Lai said. He could agree with Taylor that this feeling truly is bittersweet.

Graduating teammates lead by example for this year’s freshman class to be eager to follow in their footsteps in the coming years. “I loved competing for UDFS. All of the upperclassmen were super supportive and helpful making this new experience a good one,” Alannah Binotto said. “Competing at nationals was a lot of fun. Seeing how tough the competition is, it makes me want to work harder and improve on my dances to try to do better next year.”

Looking back on the weekend in Oxford, Taylor referred to this season as transitional. “We lost a lot of very talented and competitive seniors last year, but we also gained equally talented freshmen and new members,” she said. “I think we really stepped it up this season and fought hard, fighting through injuries and other unexpected obstacles.”

It is to be noted that each competition this season fell within two weeks of the last. “There was barely any time to breathe, but everyone gave it everything they had and I could not be more proud,” Taylor said. “I know this team is just going to continue to grow and improve throughout the seasons in the future. I’m really excited to see what they do next year, and I’ll always be cheering for them.”

The UDFS 2017 national competitors include:

Alannah Binotto: Tenth place, International Dance; fourth place, Gold Dance.

Brynn Dayton: Third place, Preliminary Ladies Freeskate; second place, Low Team Maneuvers.

Allison Fortney: Sixth place, Medium Team Maneuvers.  

Hannah Gottfried: First place, Junior Ladies Short Program; fifth place, High Team Maneuvers; sixth place, Preliminary Dance; third place, Junior Ladies Championship Freeskate.

Codie Hazen: First place, Intermediate Men’s Short Program; first place, Intermediate Men’s Freeskate; sixth place, Medium Team Maneuvers.

Rex Lai: Second place, Intermediate Men’s Short Program; second place, Intermediate Men’s Freeskate.

Jenny Lin: First place, Pre-Preliminary Ladies Freeskate.

Rebecca Lisac: Sixth place, Intermediate Ladies Freeskate; second place, Low Team Maneuvers.

Samantha Puhl: Eighth place, Senior Ladies Championship Freeskate.

Chloe Roberts: Third place, Pre-Juvenile Ladies Freeskate.

Melissa Rosales: Fifth place, Senior Ladies Freeskate.

Julia Rowland: Fourth place, Junior Ladies Freeskate.

Regina Rubino: Second place; Low Team Maneuvers; eighth place, Juvenile Ladies Freeskate.

Jacob Schedl: Second place, International Dance; fourth place, Gold Dance; second place, Pre-Juvenile Men’s Freeskate; sixth place, Medium Team Maneuvers.

Janelle Skaden: Sixth place, Medium Team Maneuvers; ninth place, Novice Ladies Freeskate

Courtney Taylor: Third place, Senior Ladies Short Program Group B; second place, Senior Ladies Championship Freeskate; third place, Juvenile Dance; third place, Intermediate Dance; fifth place, High Team Maneuvers.

Brooke Tripp: Fourth place, Juvenile Ladies Freeskate; sixth place, Medium Team Maneuvers.

Kameron Wong: Fourth place, Pre-Juvenile Ladies Freeskate; second place, Low Team Maneuvers; first place, Senior Dance.

Sumika Yamada: First place, Preliminary Dance; first place, Juvenile Dance; fifth place, High Team Maneuvers; first place, Senior Ladies Short Program Group B; first place, Senior Ladies Freeskate.

Those with interest can follow UDFS on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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