By Kristin Zinsmeister
Reigning intercollegiate champion Dartmouth College could be the team-to-beat heading into the 2013 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships. Last year, the team soared above their competitors, earning 130 points, 33 more than second place. Dartmouth’s domination, however, is not a new occurrence. Since 2004, the team has won the Intercollegiate Championships five consecutive years from 2004-08, and hold more intercollegiate titles than any other team. This year, Dartmouth will seek to defend their title on home ice as the event will take place at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., April 13-14.
“Skating on home ice will be nice for our team because we will have so much support from our friends, family and alumni who will be attending the event. This will give the skaters comfort and confidence, which we hope will bring out their best performances,” Dartmouth’s coach, Jacki Smith, said.
The “Big Green” team will be challenged by two former intercollegiate champions, Boston University (2009-10) and the University of Delaware (2002, ’11), as well as the 2012 intercollegiate pewter medalists, University of California, Berkeley.
To prepare, Dartmouth’s skaters have undergone a training program that emphasizes physical strength and team unity.
“We are continuing and improving our training regimen that we instituted last year before the Intercollegiate Championships, which included interval training, power sessions and partner training. Off-ice, we stress the importance of team cohesion, and skaters spend a lot of time with each other.”
The skaters build off-ice relationships by studying, eating and rooming together, which fosters the camaraderie that contributes to Dartmouth’s on-going success as a competitive team.
In addition to strengthening team unity, the friendships built among team members offer a release from the stresses of college life, a benefit Smith sees first-hand.
“Skating with the team has become a cornerstone experience for all of our skaters here at Dartmouth. The intercollegiate program allows skaters to pursue something they have loved from an early age in a setting that puts school first. Skaters can come to the rink and let go of anything that is happening away from the ice.”
This love for skating shines through as each of Dartmouth’s team members perform with a smile and a determination that bode well for earning intercollegiate titles. However, the team’s goal for the 2013 Intercollegiate Team Championships focuses on performance over placement.
“Our primary goal for the Intercollegiate Championships is to skate with no regrets, both individually and as an overall team. We want our skaters to be proud of their progress and all of the effort they put in this season.”
The Intercollegiate Team Championships is the culmination of the intercollegiate competition season. To qualify, teams must participate in three conference events and earn the most points in their respective sections (Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast). Approximately 30 colleges entered the series and the top three from each section qualify.
To learn more about intercollegiate skating, visit www.usfsa.org/programs.