Club figure skating’s hopes for Nationals

Katie LaDuke , Staff Reporter

With the recent weather dipping below freezing, many college students could have skated their way across campus. As Michigan gets a warm front, the Oakland University figure skating club is now trying to skate their way to Nationals.

The club was first started in 2007 to give Oakland students a chance to continue skating careers after high school.

“I felt that I put so much time into it already I didn’t want to just quit after high school,” senior President Alyssa Hankins said.

Some members have upwards of 10 years of experience in figure skating. While skating experience is recommend, it is not a requirement to be a part of the team. Some members skate just for fun or who are very novice do not have to compete.

The figure skating club averages six to 13 members but is always accepting new members. Since there are no specific tryouts, interested students just need to attend practices.

“The reason we recommend having experience is because of the ice skates and the technique,” Hankins said.

In the club’s bi-weekly practices, much of the time is spent working toward competitions. The team attends three competitions in hopes of placing for Nationals. In all of the competitions, ice skating and ice dancing are incorporated. While ice skating allows for more jumps, ice dancing has performers skate to more defined beats.

All routines vary depending on the skill level of the skaters which then decides the length. Freshman member Julia Budnick did a “Beauty and the Beast” inspired competition routine that was four minutes long.

“It feels very light,” Budnick said. “Although it’s four minutes long, and I feel like I’m going to die by the end, it’s my favorite.”

For competitions, it is not unusual for the team to travel far. This past October, Western Michigan University was the first stop of the competition season. In February, the team will be flying to Minnesota for a competition.

With the help of fundraising, the club was able to cover majority of the season’s expenses. Their recent bowling fundraiser gathered around $2,000. If the team places for Nationals, more money will have to be raised.

If the club places for Nationals, this would be the first year they attend. However, members are not new to placing in the top five at competitions. At the last competition, the team placed fourth, a big improvement from years past.

“Our team this year is a lot more competitive than the past,” Hankins said.

One unique aspect the club picked up from traveling to competitions is their signature “tweeting.” It started when the team saw Adrian College’s members and student section barking as a way to support the performers when they took the ice.

“We just started tweeting, and it just stuck,” Hankins said. “It’s just this obnoxious thing that we do.”


Members try their best to support each other as much as they can because ice skating is just as much mental as it is physical.

“If you fall all the time you just have to learn to keep going and to push yourself,” Budnick said. “I think [skating] has taught me so many great lessons that I definitely would not have had if I didn’t figure skate.”

The team is excited for their upcoming competitions and looks forward to growing in the future.

“We want others to know we exist,” Hankins said. “We want to make a name for ourselves.”