Mercyhurst is lucky to have a variety of club sports that students can be a part of regardless of their level of experience. One option available to students is the Figure Skating Club, which is quickly rising to prominence and has even been featured on national sites. Like the other club sports offered on campus, anyone can join the figure skating team, regardless of whether they’ve been trained for years or are lacing up their skates for the first time.
“We have recreational skaters as well as a competitive team, through USFSA Intercollegiate Competition Program,” said Anna Zelina, the head coach of the team. The team does skate at different times of the day, so no matter if you’re an early bird or a night owl, you can skate whenever you’re able to.
“The team meets a variety of times throughout the rink at the Mercyhurst Ice Center. We try to accommodate different class and work schedules, so we have some early morning practices at 7:15am and later at 5:00pm,” said Zelina.
For those that are interested, the club will provide a semester calendar with all skate times listed.The team fundraises each year to get the opportunity to travel to participate in competitions against other universities with as little out-of-pocket pay possible. Per the Hurst Athletics page, the club is “officially registered under the United States Figure Skating Association’s collegiate sanctions through their Intercollegiate Team Competition Program. This means that the team can compete in up to three competitions per year, as well as a chance to go to the Collegiate Championships, which takes place every Spring. Club members are afforded the opportunity to compete if they choose, though they may also participate in the club to simply skate recreationally and improve their skills. The team is participating in two competitions this semester. The first one was virtual through Princeton University on Feb. 5-6, while the second will be at Liberty University Feb. 11-13.
Additionally, there will be opportunities for bonding events, such as a team dinner in May and a senior send-off.The team was honored by US Figure Skating with an article about them, discussing how the club grew from one member to 12 in just a few short years. “Sharing time together outside of the rink and away from school work has really helped in creating friendships and relieving stress,” said the article.
“The figure skating program has come far in the past three years, starting out with one passionate member to growing into a team of 12 talented skaters with all different levels and backgrounds. Mercyhurst continues to grow the team through attending local competitions, community involvement, and getting the name out on social media. Even during the challenging times of COVID-19 lock downs and limitations, they participated in U.S. Figure Skating webinars and flash talks for high school skaters and conducted their own Zoom info sessions for prospective students.”
The club’s president, junior psychology major Allison Pfeiffer, joined the team wanting to learn to skate, and quickly made friends and increased her experience. “What you do on the team really depends on you,” Pfeiffer said. “Some members plan to compete and have programs choreographed. Other members are just there to have fun.”
If you are interested in joining the team, keep an eye out for their Instagram @mercyhurstfigureskating to see what they’ve been up to, or reach out to Zelina or Pfeiffer! While the team is small, they’ve got a lot of heart, so all are welcome to skate!