Athletics & Recreation

DU figure skating team to compete at nationals

The University of Denver club figure skating team has put in the hours. The 20 skaters, of whom 14 skate competitively, practice every weekday from 7:45 a.m.–9:15 a.m. honing their skills.

Now all that time on the ice is paying off with a chance to compete at the U.S. Figure Skating Collegiate Nationals in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 4–6. The team earned their way in by accumulating points at regional competitions over the last few months.

Thirteen of DU’s skaters will test their mettle against nine other teams in competitions in freestyle skating, dance and team maneuvers. The team has two coaches, Linda Boumeester and Karen Schleu, but they won’t be traveling to the competition.

Schleu has been coaching the team for two years. This year, she says the team trained more together, and members spent more time together off the ice doing things socially. That closeness can prove valuable at nationals.

“I think it does help because they have to teach each other when they’re at competitions. Being they’re all good friends, it works for them,” Schleu says.

Junior psychology major Hannah Katz began skating as a toddler and started skating competitively in the seventh grade. She says the sport is challenging because there are so many different levels involved. Although she says falls are just part of the process, the bruises and torn muscles aren’t enough to keep her away.

“It’s definitely a sport for those very determined to get something,” Katz says.

A competitor at heart, she’s looking forward to her chance to skate in Michigan.

“I’m anticipating a great time with my fellow skaters and teammates with hopefully a good outcome,” she says.

But Katz says the group isn’t just for competitors. It’s for everyone who enjoys skating — even those just learning.

As a DU club sport, the team receives some funding from the University. Fundraising and donations help, but many of the expenses — such as $800 for skates and costumes ranging from $100–$1,000 — come out of skaters’ pockets.

Besides competitions, the team performs at ice shows at Magness Arena throughout the year. Their next event is a performance of “Thriller” in the show titled “All About You,” a display of individual and group skating talents on April 13 at 1 p.m. at the Ritchie Center. About half of the team will be involved in the show.

General admissions tickets are $5 per person and are available at the Joy Burns Arena front desk and the Ritchie CenterBox Office.

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