2012 Golden Bear Skate Preview

September 12, 2012 § 4 Comments

Oh, look! Michelle Kwan got engaged. Cheerio.

If you still want to see a gathering of great figure skaters and you are in the Bay Area, you have a chance to see some good skating. This Saturday, September 15th, if you get angry when Cal cannot contain Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes, go and watch University of California Figure Skating Club host the 2012 Golden Bear Skate at Oakland Ice Center (519 18th Street, Oakland, CA), the first of three regional qualifying competitions that determine which three teams will represent the Pacific Division at the 2013 USFSA Intercollegiate Nationals in Hanover, New Hampshire.

The Golden Bears return six core skaters (including co-president Marissa Minovitz, who studied abroad after competing in the Tiger Classic last year) from their 2011-12 team that placed fourth at Intercollegiate Nationals. This year, the team comes back exponentially stronger, adding this year’s collegiate junior men’s champion Matej Silecky and ice dancer Teressa Vellrath, two of the many experienced skaters new to collegiate skating rounding out this year’s competitive team. A marked difference between this year’s team and the last two teams is that rather than bringing eight skaters to compete against full-sized teams, they now have enough skaters to use up their allotted 35 entries and a great shot at improving on last year’s finish.

Why Hosting Their Own Competition Is Important

Though there are a lot of logistics and costs to plan out, the team that host their own competition has the luxury of staying home. More often than not, people like to sleep in their own beds and know the short routes straight to the rink and the nearest Starbucks. They save money on flights and car rentals. Skaters probably would also enjoy expending energy on extra preparation, rather than using that same energy just to fly up the state (if you’re from Southern California) or even across a time zone (if you’re coming from Fort Collins or Denver). I also believe that unless you are used to the high altitude or you have the money to be able to afford a hyperbaric chamber at home, then the lower altitude of Oakland Ice Center will help you feel like you’re not completely out of breath after your final pre-competition practices. Local skaters also get to enjoy some darn good Crossroads/Clark Kerr Campus home cooking.

The Best Out West

The three top teams from the West, Midwest and East divisions compete in Nationals. Cal, Denver Pioneers and Colorado State Rams hope to repeat as the West representatives but UCLA looks to bump one of them this year.

  • Denver Pioneers

The Pioneers fly down a mile in altitude from Joy Burns Arena and seek a return trip to Nationals. They lost visible leader/senior skater/professor Taryn Brandt to graduation but return a very well-rounded team from top to bottom in order to stay in contention, expecting big contributions from skaters such as Maddie Moyer, Lisa Moore, Lauren Montgomery, Lena Nguyen and Karen Yamasaki.

  • Colorado State Rams

The Rams go away from the friendly confines of Edora Pool and Ice Center in Fort Collins and head to Oakland Ice to cement a return trip to National.

  • UCLA Bruins

After narrowly missing out on a berth to compete at Nationals, the Bruins return all of their skaters Mericien Venzon, Emily Chan, Maddison Bullock and Joey Millet from last year’s team that narrowly missed qualifying for Nationals even when they did not participate in the Tiger Classic. This event will be a homecoming for junior skater Chen and senior skater and 2009 Philippines Women’s Champion Venzon.

What to Watch

The entire competition extends from the warm-ups for high team maneuvers at 9:45 AM to the end of all the senior ladies championship freeskate at 7:20 PM.

  • Junior men’s events (SP: 11:25 AM, LP: 6:40 PM) with Cal’s Matej Silecky competing for points against UCLA’s Joey Millet.
  • Senior ladies events (SP: 11:40 AM, LP: 6:15 PM, Championship FS: 7:00 PM) Look out for Cal’s Michelle HongKatrina Phan, co-president Laney Diggs, Sravani Kondapavulur (I hear Hyrule Temple is involved).
  • Junior ladies (SP: 11:10 AM, LP: 6:15 PM)Marissa Minovitz.
  • In dance, look for Cal’s Vellrath and returning skater Samira Damavandi.

I don’t know who else is skating so… I’ve attached the tentative schedule. The competition may start up early or end late, or both.

That schedule. All events that do not include the (GBS) prefix are not Golden Bear Skate events.

Axels, double axels, axel combos, flying spins, step sequences. Hyrule Temple? Hotel California? Les Miserables? Oh my.



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