The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

The student news site of Bellarmine Preparatory School

The Bellarmine Prep Lion

Tacoma hosts the 2023 US Figure Skating West Coast Sectionals

The picturesque setting of Tacoma, Washington, played host to the US Figure Skating Sectionals 2023 at the Tacoma Twin Rinks, where the rink echoed with the triple salchows and lutzs that have become increasingly prevalent in women’s figure skating. This competition marked a pivotal moment in the evolution of the sport, reflecting a seismic shift in expectations and training routines, as echoed by skaters, coaches, and a rising sense of competitiveness in the air.

Logan Stephenson, a seasoned senior ladies figure skater for EFSC, shared insights into the dynamic changes she has witnessed. She expressed concerns about the fairness of competition, emphasizing the need for skaters attempting triples to move up to higher levels, fostering a more challenging and competitive environment. Stephenson stressed the importance of mastering higher-level jumps and spins to secure good scores, acknowledging the delicate balance between pushing young skaters and ensuring their sustained interest and growth.

“The increased difficulty, especially at young levels, is a positive but also a negative,” Stephenson remarked. While recognizing the potential for early burnout, she acknowledged the rapid improvement young skaters can achieve with the right guidance. Stephenson emphasized the increasing importance of points in competitions and the delicate dance between technical prowess and the often-overlooked artistry side of figure skating.

Sofia McCarley, a Novice Ladies skater at sectionals, shared her journey balancing school and skating, revealing the sacrifices made to stay on a competitive track. She mentioned missing out on typical teenage experiences like homecoming and vacations, illustrating the demanding nature of pursuing a competitive figure skating path.

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“I often feel like I have missed out on so many things most teenagers experience,” McCarley admitted. Despite the challenges, McCarley remains committed to her passion for figure skating, seeing the 2023 Sectionals as a defining moment in her career.

Coach Natalie Thompson, who sent some of her students to sectionals, provided a coach’s perspective. She expressed a divided opinion on the introduction of triples at lower levels, recognizing the excitement it brings but questioning the long-term risks to young, underdeveloped bodies.

In discussing the evolving landscape, Thompson emphasized the need for a more detailed and sophisticated approach to training. She highlighted the role of performance analysis tools, such as assessing angular momentum and rotational speed, in building stronger and more efficient skaters. Her acknowledgement of the necessity for personal trainers and nutritionists underscored the multifaceted nature of coaching in figure skating.

Addressing the practical challenges faced by skaters, Thompson delved into the time management aspect. With the increased time commitment required to excel in this era of figure skating, she recognized the potential clash between training demands and the traditional school day saying, “Some of these expectations might not be realistic for a normal child who has to attend school as there are not enough hours in the day.”

Thompson also pointed out the diminishing fan base as figure skating becomes more centered on jumps, losing the magic that once captivated audiences. She acknowledged the challenges skaters face in balancing time commitments, especially with increased training demands, emphasizing the need for dedication to excel in this evolving landscape.

Ethan Korymanyos, a 4th place medalist in Novice Men’s, shared his perspective on the changes. He applauded the impressive advancements in women’s skating but acknowledged the challenges they pose for those unable to perform at such a high level. Korymanyos noted the heightened expectations, where skaters now need to master triples and triple-triple combos by the Novice level to secure podium positions.

He expressed a nuanced view on the influence on young skaters, recognizing both positive and negative aspects. While pushing for higher-level skills might enhance athleticism, Korymanyos cautioned against potential injuries and early burnout. Korymanyos also touched on the shifting focus towards elements over figure skating components, a trend that could impact the creativity and artistry side of the sport.

The 2023 US Figure Skating Sectionals showcased a sport in flux, navigating the delicate balance between technical prowess and artistic expression. Skaters and coaches alike voiced concerns and excitement about the evolving landscape, acknowledging the need for adaptation, dedication, and a mindful approach to training to thrive in this changing paradigm of women’s figure skating.

Photo courtesy of Lakewood Winter Club

About the Contributor
Gabriella Gade, Reporter

Gabriella Gade is a senior this year who is super excited to be on this ‘23-‘24 Journalism Staff!  At Bellarmine she is involved in cheerleading, Lion Outreach, APICA, FASA, and many more. Outside of school, she trains full time as a competitive figure skater and works at the ice rink.