Cal Figure Skating, Nationals Preview

March 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s been about a year since my last participation in an intercollegiate competition. Since then,

  • LSAC administered four LSATS in June 2012, October 2012, December 2012, and February 2013
  • Kina Grannis makes another visit in San Francisco to visit her family and sing
  • Entry-level jobs, entry-level jobs everywhere. But it’s a shame that I didn’t have 4-5 years of experience.
  • I picked up some fundamentals of figure skating
  • I found out George Washington Law and UC Hastings Law do guided tours. UC Berkeley/Boalt Hall doesn’t. 😥
  • UCLA, not Colorado State or New Mexico, joins Cal and Denver as Pacific representatives at Nationals

But this post isn’t really about me. Rather, it’s about why Cal Figure Skating is in excellent position to overtake Boston University and University of Delaware Figure Skating Clubs and become one of the top 3 intercollegiate teams in the nation. Now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon.

I can tell you're as excited about this as I am.

I can tell you’re as excited about this as I am.


  • Senior ladies Katrina Phan (skated in only one regional)
  • Junior ladies Hannah Benet (skated in only one regional)
  • Novice ladies Tanya Shaby (graduation)
  • Preliminary ladies Sarah Powell (graduation)
  • Preliminary men’s Darren Lee (graduation)

Subtract nine points (Tanya’s 3rd place finish in novice free and 1st place finish in novice short, Tanya’s contributions to the team’s 1st place finish in high team maneuvers, Darren’s 3rd place finish in men’s preliminary) from the 2012 Cal team that finished 4th in the nation with 38 points overall.


  • Senior men’s/ice dancer/sophomore Sean Sunyoto (missed 2011-2012 collegiate season due to injured shoulder)
  • Junior men’s/freshman Matej Silecky
  • Senior men’s/freshman Jay Yostanto (missed 2012-13 season due to Junior Grand Prix assignments)
  • Junior ladies/senior Marissa Minovitz (missed 2nd half of 2011-2012 season studying abroad)
  • Junior ladies/preliminary ice dancer Gina DeNatale
  • Senior ladies ice dancer Teressa Vellrath
  • Senior ladies ice dancer/freshman Kelsey Chan
  • Senior ladies/sophomore Sravani Kondapavulur
  • Juvenile ladies/freshman Amy Nguyen

Returning skaters are intermediate ladies/sophomore Janelle Unger, senior ladies/preliminary ice dancer/junior Laney Diggs, senior ladies/preliminary ice dancer/sophomore Michelle Hong, and junior ice dancer Samira Damavandi. Returning coach is Cal FSC alumnus Dani Schraner.

Yeah, buddy.

Yeah, buddy.

So what?

The most noticeable difference is that this team has become top-heavy. No preliminary free, pre-juvenile free, or novice free skaters.  The only non-junior, non-senior skaters are intermediate ladies Janelle Unger and juvenile ladies Amy Nguyen. We’re leaving potential points on the table.


I’m not sure I’d ever believe Cheryl but I’m willing to hear her out.

The team is well-rounded in other ways:

We have ice dancers

Aside from five skaters signing up for dance events, there was only one true ice dancer on the team, Samira Damavandi (senior). This year, the ice dancing portion of the team grew with the additions of Teressa Vellrath (Gold Solo and International Solo), Kelsey Chan, Sean Sunyoto (junior, senior), and Gina DeNatale (preliminary, pre-juvenile). Ice dance events are packed at each level, allowing each skater to earn points, which can increase significantly the number of points the team gets overall. As baseball analyst Tim McCarver always says, the more points you score, the more likely it is you’re going to win.

Others have a different kind of ice dancing in mind.

Others have a different kind of ice dancing in mind.

More dudes

For the past two seasons, the team’s roster contained one guy. In 2010-2011, it was Cal Figure Skating alumnus Mark Bernardo who would represent the Cal men in regional competitions and then, in Michigan for Intercollegiate Nationals. In 2011-2012, it was Darren Lee taking the torch from Mark to Colorado competitions, including Intercollegiate Nationals in Colorado Springs. This year, it’s junior skater Matej Silecky and senior skater Sean Sunyoto representing the men’s side of the team in Hanover, NH. They’ll expand the number of skaters in each event, allowing each junior and senior skater from all schools to potentially earn more points. Side note,  if dudes are given their own locker room, does it mean they’re banned from the ones for everyone else? No rush, Jacki Smith, Dartmouth competition chair.

More junior and senior level skaters

The team will use up four entries when Marissa Minovitz and Gina DeNatale skate the junior championship free skate and junior short programs. Use up six entries putting your three best senior skaters in the short program. Later, they will put two of them in the regular senior free skate and the other two in the senior championship free skate. Kelsey ChanSravani Kondapavulur, Laney Diggs, and Michelle Hong are your senior skaters. Top 5 finishers in the championship free skate events get two extra points on top of the points they get for their placement.

At this point, the Golden Bears will employ SravaniSeanMatejLaneyMichelle, and Teressa to handle the jumps, spins, and footwork in high team maneuvers.

I can see you getting super excited about this.

I can see you getting super excited about this.

The Thing That Stays the Same

It’s never about winning the Pacific region, though it helps. It’s about doing well at all the regional competitions, allowing the team to qualify for the championships. Berkeley likes to live dangerous though, bringing lots of people to the first competition, bringing almost no one to the second competition, then bringing everyone who didn’t go to the second competition to the last one. Studying for midterms, taking midterms, save money on an extra flight and hotel stay, I get it. This just leaves little room for error if the Golden Bears want to be in the top 3 out West. Last year, it was Berkeley making it to Nationals at the expense of a UCLA team. This year, US Figure Skating had to break a tie between Berkeley, UCLA, and New Mexico, detailed here. New Mexico Figure Skating nearly made it in their first year of existence. But if they want to keep Berkeley out of it next time, they have to do better in all competitions. If you don’t take care of business, an experienced and large team like Berkeley will steal your spot in Nationals every single time.


Super excited!



Tagged: , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Cal Figure Skating, Nationals Preview at jd candidate who figure skates.


%d bloggers like this: