On (Maybe) Being a USFSA Blogger

August 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Maybe, just maybe. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It’s a great responsibility recollecting for US Figure Skating a figure skating-obsessed nation still waiting for Michelle Kwan. But until our Olympic gold medal savior arrives and sweeps us off our feet, we’re left with the world-class skaters we do have for the 2015-16 season. Jesus, take the wheel.

We know it takes quad jumps to win senior men’s competition, but do we have enough faith in Kori Ade/Rohene Ward to take Jason Brown to the next level without a quad? Past Jason though, that requires using our remaining faith in Pretty Ricky Dornbush (nice job at Collegiates, slugger) and Max Aaron, throwing up a prayer that they each cobble together a podium-worthy (bronze, pewter, whatever) performance. We’re just all glad that Nathan Chen looks ready to go hard in the paint and represent the US at juniors after an injury-plagued season last year.
Maybe Gracie Gold breaks through and gets a medal that matches her surname. Maybe she doesn’t and the Frank Carroll crew figures out what went wrong. In the meantime, we look to see if Mirai Nagasu (sprinkles are for Collegiates winne- oh…) can make a case that she’s still one of the best American female skaters in the world. Mirai’s a lover, not a fighter, but she’s also a fighter, so no one get any ideas about taking her competition assignments. We’ll have Polina Edmunds for the rest of the decade to let us know that Sochi wasn’t a fluke and she deserves a ticket to Pyeongchang punched yesterday. If we get tired speaking about the other senior ladies, we’ll always have Ashley Wagner to remind us she’s still here.
I understand that with great blogging powers comes great responsibility.

What would Brian Boitano do?

Scratch the triple axel. Boitano settles for the triple lutz-double salchow wearing a blindfold.

Wait, did I really just Uncle Ben myself?

On Midseason Previews: 2014-15 UCLA Bruins

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

The United States Figure Skating Association’s Intercollegiate regular season is one-third of the way done for Pacific Division teams. Schools from California and Colorado made their way through I-70 to Edora Pool and Ice Center (EPIC) in Fort Collins to see if they could make their Intercollegiate Nationals dreams come true. It’s University of Denver, Colorado State, and University of California, San Diego who are the closest to booking their flights to the San Francisco Bay Area for some postseason glory. Lurking within striking distance are the University of California, Berkeley and University of Colorado, Boulder. Where art thou, UCLA and DO WE START FREAKING OUT RIGHT NOW?

UCLA Bruins

Season Standings: Tied for 6th place with Colorado College and University of Northern Colorado, with 0 points

The real figure skaters of Westwood come back home from Denver empty-handed, edged out by pioneers, bears, rams, buffaloes and sea deities. They do get credit for sending skaters to EPIC so they don’t get a stern talking to from Katherine Specht and the USFS Collegiate Committee.

The Bruins are stoked not only to come back to final examinations and $1.75 Diddy Riese ice cream sandwiches, but also to the low altitude of Southern California, where it reportedly makes a difference to breathe and skate at 500 feet above sea level, instead of 5000 feet.

Stoked. Gruntled. Por qué no los dos?

Stoked. Gruntled. Por qué no los dos?

These may not be your older brother’s Bruins though, as the Core 4 of Joey Millet, Maddison Bullock, Mericien Venzon, and Emily Chan, plus junior college transfer Amanda Sunyoto and team mom Coral Chou sort out their post-undergraduate lives. Best of luck to their skating, their modeling and singing, their graduate school, their life endeavors. Let’s take a look at the new Core 4 or Core … 10.

2014-15 Roster

  • Tyler Vollmer, ice dance
  • Adrian Siew, free skate
  • Evan Bender, free skate
  • Ai Ohno, free skate
  • Sarah Palaich, ice dance and free skate
  • Jillian Campbell, free skate
  • Evy Karin, free skate
  • Therese Vesagas, free skate
  • Julia Feng, free skate
  • Patricia McNeil, free skate
  • Marisa Goff, ice dance
  • More members to follow once the competitions in San Diego and Denver roll around

Sunyoto Sibling Rivalry No More

Raise your beverage in remembrance of Amanda and her younger sibling, Cal’s Sean Sunyoto. This will be the first time since Amanda transferred from Cerritos College that the Sunyotos won’t be ice dancing against each other. Rather than arguments or fights though, you instead saw one trying to teach the other how to do certain ice dances five minutes before they were scheduled to compete, you saw them supporting each other on and off the ice, and you saw them symbolizing the connection made between Berkeley and LA’s figure skating teams. As Sean finishes his last year of undergraduate eligibility, the siblings will turn their sights toward starting dental school, telling people to floss, and beyond.


There’s Tyler Vollmer, who can ice dance pretty darn well and take advantage of the bonus points that come with competing at the international dance events. It could be Sarah Palaich, whose versatility in the novice free skate and her ice dancing can earn the team much needed points.

I’m still leaning towards sophomore Ai Ohno as the one who wills the team to the postseason. Skating up from novice to junior this year, the team will rely on her clean skates to keep up with everyone else.

California Love

Deadline for Pacific Division teams to sign up for the January 24th Ride the Tide Competition, hosted by University of California, San Diego is December 17th. It’s a three hour drive or a half-hour flight from LA to San Diego, so the Bruins will be skating not too far from home, which is nice. If UCLA can place in the top 3 in January’s competition, they won’t have to worry about not making Nationals.


Holiday Skating

November 6, 2013 § 5 Comments

Rather than dwell on the fact that figure skating is a really expensive sport that requires a lot out of its participants financially, physically and mentally, let’s focus on something that’s less depressing about ice skating: outdoor holiday rinks. The San Francisco Bay Area region is spoiled to have two outdoor rinks, where people can celebrate their holidays and create beautiful memories of their time figure skating.

*Insert generic complaint about figure skating here*

One rink is located in Union Square and despite being 50% smaller than an average indoor rink, the Union Square outdoor rink is located next to a cool four story tall Christmas tree, bright lights and Cheesecake Factory across the street. The other is located at Justin Herman Plaza in the Embarcadero, a little bit further down the waterfront from AT&T Park. This rink is significantly bigger than the Union Square one, giving you more room to take pictures, fall on the ice and imitate an ice skater.

You seem like a pretty responsible person so here are suggestions that may leave you with less bruises to your body and dignity:

Wearing jeans while skating

No, I’m not expecting you to come in on a brisk morning or a really cold evening in Lululemon or generic running pants. I am also not advocating for you to take off your pants just to go skate. Jeans restrict leg movements, making it harder to skate around, jump, spin, do crazy footwork. As long as you don’t over-exert yourself skating in jeans, it shouldn’t be too bad. I also pray that the pair of jeans you’re wearing doesn’t rip when you attempt a figure skating element out on the ice.

GSP learned that firsthand.

Instagram on the ice

I get it. Holiday rinks aren’t around every day of the year. Four story tall trees aren’t in the middle of Union Square every day of the year. I have nothing against people instagram-ing the lovers and third-wheeling friends, the Embarcadero waterfront or tall trees. At the same time, it may be safer to do this off the ice.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your opinion, man.

Yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

The people in the photo need to be stationary and lined up with the tree. Photographers are stationary trying to get a good photo. They will take multiple shots in order to get one good shot.

That’s cool and all but you’re all standing in the middle of a busy rink, surrounded by people who don’t skate all that often and have control over where they fall or skate. You’re asking to be knocked over if you’re standing in the middle of the ice rink, in the way of everyone else. It’s a little less dangerous when you take these pictures off the ice, and the image of you dazed and confused, sprawled on the ice won’t be immortalized on Vine.

Eating bacon cheeseburgers and Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes

Plenty of spots to eat during the holidays. Maybe these are the choices you’re thinking about when you want to have a good meal with friends and skate after. Perhaps there are fancier restaurants like House of Prime Rib, Prospect, or Gary Danko in mind. Really though, right before you’re about to skate?

These dinner choices may make you feel a little sluggish, so if your dinner ends half an hour before the next skating session starts, take that time to digest a little bit. If not, the wobbling on ice skates, as well as other skaters skating around in circles may induce some nausea and barfing. Take the skating slow and just have a good time.

Other advice

  • Each session starts at every even hour of the clock and lasts for 90 minutes.
  • Check here and here in case there’s a day where some rich dude/company bought out the ice rink for a session or the whole day. Otherwise, check these sites anyway to see how much money things will cost, what time the sessions happen on weekdays and weekends, etc.
  • Union Square Ice Rink allows people to purchase tickets online to avoid lines and stuff. $2.50 in extra fees but sometimes, it’s worth it rather than finding out the session you want to go to is all sold out.
  • Union Square also won’t let you do spins and jumps once there’s four or more people on the ice so go early if that’s your thing. Otherwise, have fun skating in circles with friends.
  • Either have someone watch your stuff to avoid theft or pay money to use the lockers provided by the rinks.
  • Falling on the ice, it happens. Just enjoy the few times you skate every year.
Have fun out there.

Have fun out there.


2013 Intercollegiate Nationals Results

April 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

Let’s see what I got wrong and right during this weekend of intercollegiate figure skating championships at Thompson Arena in Lebanon, New Hampshire.



  • University of Delaware Blue Hens come into hostile territory in Lebanon, New Hampshire, wrest the title away from Dartmouth Figure Skating and sit on the throne as 2013 champions.
  • Dartmouth is in second place, narrowly missing out on earning their 2nd consecutive championship and 7th overall on their home ice.
  • Boston University places third, keeping UC Berkeley in 4th even without the assistance of junior nationals competitor James Morgan.
  • Andrew Korda destroyed the field of one in his preliminary men’s performance.
  • Professor Taryn Brandt made it out to Lebanon, sharing Zumba playlists and chillin’ like a villain with Cal coach Dani Schraner.
  • Adrian College, solid first season fielding a figure skating team. Congratulations to women’s hockey player Demi Russo on capturing the intermediate ladies collegiate individual championship. Meghan Barnes, 4th best novice collegiate skater in the nation. Brittan Mariage, best juvenile collegiate skater in the nation. Maddi Prange and Kate Wolstenholme finish 2-3 in the pre-juvenile event(s). I feel like they did well for themselves this weekend.
  • Though she didn’t crack top 5 in either events, Rylie Pepich had herself a great weekend of skating in her final appearance as a skater for the Pioneers. Best of luck at University of Seattle.
  • UCLA didn’t crack the podium this year. UCLA and UC Berkeley will one of these days. All the best to Coral Chou, who graduates this year.


The best Cal Figure Skating team in terms of numbers and caliber of skaters was much closer to attaining third place this year compared to 2012. Though they fell short, this team performance is nothing to hang your head in shame at.

... aaaaaaaaand Brandon Belt gets the stolen base.

… aaaaaaaaand Brandon Belt gets the stolen base.

  • Dartmouth’s Caroline Knoop is gonna Knoop and keep Cal skaters out of first in both junior short and free skates. That said, 4th year Marissa Minovitz earned some hardware to take home in her final competition of her undergraduate career. 6th in the short, she convinces the judges and everyone else that her free skate is a better Love Story than Twilight, earning third place honorz. 3 points.
  • Captain Michelle Hong earns herself 4th place in the senior ladies long program and was an integral portion of the high team maneuvers group that finished 4th. 2 points.
  • I’d say Matej Silecky enjoyed a New England do-over, getting redemption after his Eastern Sectional Championship performance in Hyannis Port, MA. He places first in both junior men’s short and championship free skate events ahead of Jon Jerothe, Joey Millet, and Evan Bender. He also placed third in preliminary dance, earning a total of 15 points for the team. Money.
  • Sean Sunyoto also had a solid first year competing for the team, placing 3rd in the senior short, 2nd to Schuyler Eldridge in the championship free skate, 4th in the senior solo dance, and 5th in junior solo dance. He skated the Tango and Killian dances just fine. 10 points.
  • Janelle Unger, clutch. Skating at 7 in the morning in the first event of the weekend and skating the long program shortly after, she places a strong 5th in both events. 2 points.
  • Surprises of the weekend occurred when Laney Diggs and Sravani Kondapavulur passed their dance tests before Intercollegiates and skated in juvenile dance. Diggs finished 3rd and Kondapavulur 6th. They participated in the grueling figure skating decathlon, doing the maximum number of events in free skate (Diggs 2nd in championship ladies), dance, and high team maneuvers all in the same day. Much props to these two.
You know this boogie is for real.

You know this boogie is for real. Flipping awesome!

  • Amy Nguyen’s gritty veteran performance in her first year of collegiate competition earns the team 4 points with her 2nd place finish in the juvenile free skate.
  • First year Kelsey Chan finishes 3rd in the senior solo dance and finishes somewhere in the standings (LOL ME) in gold solo dance, earning the team three points.
  • Teressa Vellrath placed 4th in gold solo dance and 3rd in international solo dance. 7 points.
  • Cal coach Dani Schraner places 1st in all her skaters’ hearts. No points and no awards but not everyone can be Cal’s coach.
Not everyone can be Cal's coach. Not everyone can be Dani Schraner.

Most importantly, not everyone can be Dani Schraner.

The only thing I know for sure about these standings is that Cal earned much more points than it did last year, when it received 39 points from eight skaters. The team managed to stay in the upper echelon of intercollegiate skating, keeping up with perennial title contenders Dartmouth, Delaware, and Boston University. There’s no big, shiny trophy this year for 4th place but the team will be okay.

With that, it’s been another year of intercollegiate skating, woefully lacking in coverage from governing body US Figure Skating (eight tweets total, holla). It’s been another year of East Coast dominance and everyone else playing catch-up. I do have reason to be optimistic though because I see the makings of a Bay Area dynasty that just needs a little more time to make things happen. Don’t sleep on the Golden Bears. To paraphrase Aubrey, like a sprained ankle, this team ain’t something to play with.

Great season, Cal. Go Bears.


2013 Intercollegiate Nationals Results

Your Updated Final Standings (courtesy of usfsa.org)

          1. Delaware (98 points)
          2. Dartmouth (93 points)
          3. Boston University (84 points)
          4. UC Berkeley (59 points)
          5. Adrian College (36 points)
          6. UCLA (33 points)
          7. Miami University (29 points)
          8. Denver (12 points)
          9. Michigan (9 points)
Tried not to, failed miserably.

Tried not to, failed miserably.


Yes, My College Has A Figure Skating Team

February 21, 2013 § Leave a comment

After reading Caitlin Kelly’s post on how to get more readers, I realize I talk about the Cal/UC Berkeley (they’re the same) Figure Skating Club as if everyone knows about it. Unless you know an individual skater who skates for their college, or you know someone who writes about collegiate skating, chances are great that you wouldn’t run into a collegiate figure skater on your collegiate campus.

Way to go, stupid. Jeez.

Way to go, stupid. Jeez.

Intercollegiate skating is the brainchild of USFSA, the United States governing body for figure skating. The body wants to ensure that people who finish high school still have an outlet to continue skating. Rather than allowing skaters to just quit after they get tired of all the competitions and training, intercollegiate skating provides a less stressful way to team up with former rivals and still compete against other skaters around the nation.

These stormtroopers dig the less stressful option. Don't get shot at, don't get force choked...

These troopers dig the less stressful option. Don’t get shot at, don’t get force choked…

UC Berkeley is doing well enough in the regional qualifying competitions in the West. One more decent showing at the Denver, Colorado competition in high altitude will guarantee them a spot in 2013 Intercollegiate Nationals. Before they can book their flights to Mordor, New Hampshire and simply stop Dartmouth Figure Skating from winning their 7th overall championship, UC Berkeley must make sure they keep pace with other front-runners like UC Los Angeles and Denver. UC Berkeley must also stay in front of smaller teams such as UC San Diego, New Mexico, Colorado State, University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and Colorado College.

Brian Wilson digs that.

Brian Wilson digs that.

How can the Berkeley Golden Bears do that?

Quite simple. They make their flight from one of the two major airports in the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland International or San Francisco International and fly non-stop to Denver International Airport. Unless teams are flying or driving into Denver on Friday, teams going into Denver Saturday will have little time to waste. Due to a scheduling conflict at Joy Burns Arena, Denver had to schedule all short programs, intermediate to senior ladies and junior men to the South Suburban Ice Arena. This change forces some members of each team to go directly from the airport to another ice rink. If they are junior and senior skaters, they will have to wait until the end of Saturday night to perform their short programs.


Despite skaters in short programs getting less sleep than they’d like, everything goes back to normal on Sunday. All Sunday events happen back at Joy Burns Arena. Due to time constraints, ice dancers will only have to do the required dance, whereas normally, they’d have to do two ballroom dance patterns.

Ice dancers only have to skate to the third dance at their level.

Ice dancers only have to skate to the third dance at their level.

Anyone we’re saying goodbye to?

This will be the last undergraduate regional qualifier for 4th year junior skater Marissa Minovitz. Improving on last year’s 4th place finish at Nationals will be a proper send-off gift.

Her and her teammates, ready for battle.

Her and her teammates, ready for battle.

But seriously though, one doesn’t simply skate into Mordor

You’re totally right, I’m underestimating Dartmouth Figure Skating. Not only has Berkeley’s team gotten stronger, but Dartmouth and the other Eastern Conference teams such as Boston University and University of Delaware have gotten stronger as well. However, the team to beat at Intercollegiate Nationals is 6-time champion Dartmouth, the University of California Los Angeles men’s basketball or University of North Carolina women’s soccer of figure skating. They exude a vibe of confidence that they’ll dominate just about every single competition they sign up for. When you take a shot at the king, you best not miss.


Don’t miss.

Cal Figure Skating balls so hard in their own right. If they take care of business in Denver, the fourth best team in the nation in 2012 has much to say about why they deserve to be on the podium. They finally have the number of skaters, the ice dancers, and the male skaters to do so. Go Bears.


Alissa Czisny’s Long Program

January 13, 2013 § 1 Comment

Get absolutely frustrated if you’re a diehard US figure skating fan. Get a little more knowledgeable if you are not, but you like Winter Olympics, high-stakes skating. Alissa Czisny performed two minutes of her long program set to “Gone With the Wind,” choreographed by Marina Zueva at the Fox Cities Invitational in Appleton, Wisconsin. This version cuts off right before she enters her planned triple flip, where she re-injures the same hip that sidelined her for much of the 2012-2013 figure skating season.

A previously uploaded, now removed version of Czisny’s performance shows her being unable to get off the ice under her own power, having to be carried out via stretcher. The injury derails her chance at becoming a three-time Nationals champion and puts into serious doubt her chances to skate in Sochi. Whether this is a career-ending injury or not, she will always share company with some of the greatest female skaters from the United States. Since 1950, the only multiple US national championship winners are Tenley Albright, Carol Heiss, Peggy Fleming, Janet Lynn, Dorothy Hamill, Linda Fratianne, Rosalyn Sumners, Jill Trenary, Debi Thomas, some girl named Michelle Kwan and Alissa Czisny.

I wish her a speedy recovery during a difficult time.


Alissa Czisny has officially withdrawn from the US National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, according to an official press release by USFSA. She dislocated her left hip, the same hip in which she incurred a torn labrum and is recovering at a local hospital in Wisconsin. The Fox Cities Invitational was the Czisny’s first competition since the 2012 World Championships.


Quick Hits: Friday Edition

January 11, 2013 § Leave a comment

Pioneer Open Preview Pt. 2

Cal has the final tune-up and two more months to figure out their optimal high and intermediate team maneuver line-ups. Team maneuver warm-ups consist of two minutes, stroking and skating around early (crossovers are fine). Each skater for their respective teams in each of the six elements receive a minute warm-up to practice the element before having one chance to perform the element. Each skater is limited to performing two of the six elements. If one skater performs more than two elements for their team, those extra elements are not scored. No wonder why this part of collegiate skating is tough to describe to people who don’t do collegiate skating.

Six elements required at each level.

Six elements required at each level.

Ice dancers Sean Sunyoto, Gina DeNatale, Samira Damavandi and Teressa Vellrath will skate the third dance according to their respective ice dancing levels. Hopefully, they don’t require skaters to do the optional dance.


Successful performances at the Pioneer Open will guarantee the Golden Bears a spot at Intercollegiate Championships. Hanover, New Hampshire. A shot at the defending champions, Dartmouth Figure Skating Club. A shot at Delaware FSC and Boston U. I hear they offer even bigger trophies for first, second and third.

Cape Air sounds pretty comfortable.

Bigger trophies are always cool.

Candlestick Park Fun

Justin Smith is expected to play in the divisional round game against the Packers. He has had two weeks to recover from a torn tricep muscle but looks to recapture his All-Pro form to contain Aaron Rodgers. Otherwise, Aldon Smith will have a tough time getting penetration into the backfield. Where has tight end Vernon Davis gone, though? He actually hasn’t gone anywhere but his production has dropped off since Week 10. Is it because coach Jim Harbaugh switched quarterbacks? He’s got six catches for 61 yards since getting no catches in Week 12 against New Orleans. Meanwhile, Delanie Walker has had 13 catches for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the same period of time.


ESPN NFC West blogger Mike Sando, with the assist from ESPN Stats & Info does some great analysis on the disparity in tight end production here. Maybe Vernon Davis has just cooled off from his quick start to the season. I don’t entirely know either why he hasn’t figured prominently in the offense, but in any event, with a depleted wide receiving corps after Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss, Walker and Davis will have a prominent role in the offense. Whether that involves pass-catching or blocking for running backs Frank Gore and LaMichael James remains to be seen.

In any event, you can imagine PG&E getting their act together and making sure the lights don’t go out again. Ed Lee’s got another championship parade to attend.

With special guest, Eugenio Velez.

With special guest, Eugenio Velez.

Pants Advisory

In case you ride BART into San Francisco on Sunday, 1/13 and you have no clue why people aren’t wearing any pants… well, I’m sorry.

Get that MRSA all up in those briefs.

Get that MRSA all up in those briefs.


Quick Hits: Dr. Ken Jeong, Sectionals, December LSAT

November 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cal loses to Oregon. The Warriors lose in 2OT to rebounding man-child Kenneth Faried (18 points, 17 rebounds) and the Denver Nuggets. Whomp whomp.

Walking In On Someone Changing

Just to elaborate upon “The Sanctity of Figure Skating Pt. 4,” surely you’ve walked in on someone whose in the midst of changing their clothes or rocking out with their reproductive organs hanging out at your local 24 Hour Fitness. Or if you don’t use your gym membership much, maybe a couple waited a long time to take a vacation somewhere and you disrupted their photo.

Oh yes, oh yes, uh huh. Right there? Pretty upsetting.

The gym locker room inhabitants either let everything slide or freaks out. The figure skating locker room? It’s likely people will still freak out from such an invasion of privacy though. Along with Sterling Archer’s house rules, a “knock before you walk in on something” rule would probably keep the intercollegiate figure skating peace.



Your California Golden Bears and junior skaters Matej Silecky and Jay Yostanto performed their short programs earlier today. They culminate their Eastern Sectionals experience with their long programs tomorrow in Hyannis Port, Barnstable, MA. Good luck to these freshmen at 23 feet above sea level. Top four finishers advance to Junior Nationals.

Meanwhile, senior skater Laney Diggs goes up against 12 other skaters as she vies for a spot in the 2013 US Figure Skating Championships. She’ll skate her short program second after Sophia Adams of All-Year FSC in the senior ladies group at Pacific Coast Sectionals. Good luck to her Monday afternoon at 4551 feet above sea level in nearby Provo, UT.

Other notable skaters partaking in Pacific Coast Sectionals are UCLA junior skaters Evan Bender and Joey Millet, as well as juvenile skater Dinh Tran of Skating Club San Francisco. Yeah buddy.

Get it straight, Neil. Multiple badasses.

Update: In Hyannis Port, MA, Jay Yostanto finished first overall in the junior men’s event, earning him a spot to 2013 Junior Nationals, while Matej Silecky withdrew from the competition after the short program. In Provo, UT, Laney Diggs finished 5th overall of 13 skaters in the senior ladies event at Pacific Coast Sectionals.

Dinh Tran of Skating Club of San Francisco finished 3rd overall of 12 skaters in the Juvenile boys event at Pacific Coast Sectionals.

Pacific Coast Sectionals’ IJS protocols can be found here. Eastern Sectionals’ IJS protocols can be found here.


December LSAT

December 1st is getting awfully close. Crap.


Magic # is 5… wait, Cal has a figure skating team?

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

The second competition on 10/27 calls for your Golden Bears to head to Colorado Springs and fight Tigers, Pioneers, Rams, Bruins and Lobos on the ice for the privilege to go to Intercollegiate Nationals. The team flies from their choice of OAK or SFO to Denver International, take a two hour drive from the outskirts of Denver, past Aurora and to Colorado Springs, where they’ll set up shop at Honnen Ice Arena, the site of last year’s Intercollegiate Nationals.

When the number of Giants wins and Dodgers losses add up to five, then… wait up, that’s not right.

“Jeez, get your sports together.”

Thanks, Rocky.

The Bears, Bruins and Lobos roll their points over from their top 3 finishes in the previous competition. This gives each of these teams a little more breathing room, as the Colorado teams try to grab the remaining points in the last two competition. In one scenario that I did in my head, the Cal and UCLA could book their plane tickets to Hanover, New Hampshire early if UCLA gets first and Cal gets second overall. That leaves both teams with an insurmountable points lead, while the four remaining teams fight for the last spot. As long as they each get top 3 finishes in the Tiger Challenge, both teams would still need to skate the Pioneer Open but would be in great shape to qualify.

If either team gets less points then that (Cal stays at 3, UCLA stays at 2 or gets 3), then the Pioneer Open will be critical for all teams. Every team loves torture and high blood pressure, nervousness and anticipation.

Skaters You Might See

Marissa Minovitz, Gina DeNatale, Matej Silecky, Laney Diggs, Janelle Unger, Kathryn Poniatowski, Amy Nguyen, Teressa Vellrath, Sravani Kondapavulur, Katrina Phan, Michelle Hong, Samira Damavandi, Alex Lin, Sean Sunyoto and Hannah Benet. Maybe freshman Jay Yostanto?

“What do you mean ‘I can skip this one’? I already bought plane tickets!”

This is the list of Cal skaters from the first competition. These skaters have the flexibility to go to this competition or the final one to fulfill their two regional competitions minimum requirement, and may choose to skip this one due to midterms or not wanting to spend money on plane tickets and hotels this early. Legit reasons. Some skaters may not skate the Tiger Challenge in order to qualify at Southwest Regionals for the real deal Nationals. With all this said, Cal still needs to show up against all the improved Colorado teams and New Mexico.

Different Challenges

On top of the number of skaters that the team will compete against, especially within their own events and competition groups, the Golden Bears will need to train for the high altitude. According to Google Maps, Colorado Springs is over a mile/approximately 6010 feet above sea level. Cool thing is, less air resistance, you jump out farther. Bad thing is, if you’re not used to it, you’re dying after you rehearse your short, long and dance programs.

McKayla, not impressed with your cardio.

With the sheer increase in the amount of skaters, it’s likely that the events will not be one to two-team showcases. Marissa and Gina probably won’t be alone in the junior ladies short, while Laney, Katrina, Sravani and Michelle will have more company in the senior ladies short, long and senior ladies championship free skates.

According to this dated, yet awesome sports med site (doesn’t open to a new window), heart and respiratory rates go up to counteract the lack of oxygen in places of high altitude. The increased breathing rate throws off the pH balance in your body via respiratory alkalosis, reducing your body’s tolerance to lactic acid. Granted, I’m not sure if this happens drastically in a matter of a weekend but I got a feeling figure skating 6000+ feet above sea level @Colorado College vs. 40 feet @Oakland Ice makes some difference in many skaters’ routines.

Feeling like death after your morning skate.

UCLA skaters Mericien Venzon, Emily Chan and Maddison Bullock will probably be at Colorado Springs if they want to skate at Nationals. Whether or not Joey Millet, Sarah Palaich, Alejandra Acosta, Therese Vesagas, Amanda Sunyoto, Evan Bender, Coral Chou and other new additions to the Bears in powder blue fly out as well is up in the air.

Colorado College: Beyond student contact Linda Alexander and senior skater Janet Miao, I don’t know much about their team.

Colorado State: No home ice this year as the Golden Bear Skate was added into the Pacific rotation. Coach Pam and skaters Simone Rios, Fran Tait and Molly Parsons, among other skaters drive down from Edora Pool and Ice looking to make their 2012-2013 intercollegiate debuts.

Denver: Lots of skaters returning. You’ll probably see the same skaters who show up for this competition at the last one if they want to compete at Nationals. Look for Lauren Montgomery, Sophie Fritz, Maddie Moyer, Rylie Pepich, Karen Yamasaki, Lisa Moore, and a whole lot of other skaters representing the Pioneers. Shoutout to Lena Nguyen, chillin’ like a villain in New South Wales, which is not even close to the UK. It’s in Australia.

New Mexico: Romilly Tsinahjinnie, Josh Coleman, Krista Keay and Chelsea Erven look to build upon their third place finish at the Golden Bear Skate. They look forward to seeing their skating friends from Colorado and California after a six hour drive from Albuquerque.

Call Kenny Loggins because we’re getting pretty close to a:


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