By Tammy Petrou
Ryerson’s women’s figure skating team is leaping into the season with almost twice as many members as last year and a brighter outlook on the season.
“I think it’s very positive,” said third year coach Cindie Rusk. “We have 15 very strong skaters.”
Last year-s team had only nine skaters but the team has been consistently growing since its birth four years ago, when it began with four members.
The team has struggled for existence so far but has endured many obstacles — mainly the size of the team.
“We were at a disadvantage,” said second year skater Michelle Osborne. “There was more pressure on one skater and not enough practice.”
At each competition there are eight freeskate events, six dance events, and the precision category in which a maximum of 12 skaters perform. Many of the girls competed in at least two events. More skaters this year will allow for fresher legs and less stress, a more effective formula for success.
Another improvement is the skaters’ experience — six members have competed at a national level, two of which have won in their category.
Although the team has strengthened in quality and quantity, a lack of ice time still plagues the team.
“They want us to do better, but we can’t do better without ice team.” Rusk said. “We have to have time to work together.”
The figure skating team is currently allotted four hours a week to practice.
“Guelph has 10 hours a week. Right from the start we’re six steps back,” Rusk said.
They try to compensate by skating with U of T’s team on occasion and are attempting to buy ice time from Varsity Arena, which requires funding, something else the team is lacking.
The one down side to the large turnout this year is that the team needs new dresses/uniforms and have only themselves to rely on for raising funds.
The team has four weeks to raise $1500, and are in the process of planning a skate-a-thon at Lake Devo, as well as looking for a team sponsor.
Rusk encourages other skaters to come out to what looks like a promising season.