Figure skaters need help

Three UVM figure skaters will compete in an event at the end of the month despite the perceived lack of support by the University for their accomplishments. Senior Heather Truax says she will be joining senior Ashley Foell and junior Ashley Lambert at the 38th annual Providence Open, hosted by the Providence, RI Figure Skating Club on Sept. 24. The trio will compete in individual events but also to represent the UVM Figure Skating Club as a team for the first competition of the UVM Figure Skating season. “We don’t want to trash UVM,” said Truax. “But funding is an issue.” According to Truax, the club’s funds go to help the skaters with competition fees and hotels, without any of the budget left over to pay for coaching.”We want coaches of our own,” Truax said. “Then the beginning skaters can get professional input as well as help from the older, more experienced skaters. “An official club coach would also help the skaters who skate competitively find relief from the financial burden of individual training.”Despite the perceived difficulties with training time and funding at UVM, the team has managed to find local rinks, such as the one used by the Champlain Valley Skating Club and the Leddy Park Arena, to practice and prepare for this upcoming competition Truax said. The girls will each be putting on an individual program, which, according to the club is a traditional short program that varies from two to three minutes in length and is based on skill level for the Providence Open.Together, Foell, Truax, and Lambert will be performing a team maneuver as well she said.Relatively unknown to the community at large, team maneuvers require each member of a three to six person team to perform any of six movements as the judges call them out Truax explained. All the teams are on the ice at this time and one by one, teams come out to the middle of the ice to carry out the tasks she said.It is uncommon in figure skating for skaters to compete as anything but individuals but the team maneuvers allow for them to be scored as a unit Truax said.”It’s such a solitary sport,” she said. “It’s nice to be unified as a team for a change.”UVM is bidding to host a competition of its own sometime in March at Gutterson Arena. A weekend has been set aside for such an event and the University is waiting to confirm that the weekend set aside is convenient for the club said Jull Moffitt, clubs and instructional recreation coordinator.”UVM hosting an event would be huge for us as a club,” Truax said. “Hosting a competition like this would really establish our credibility.”The club, made up of first time as well as veteran competing skaters, is allotted ice time to practice two mornings a week Truax said.”That’s not enough for us,” she said. “Plus the open-rec skating time, which is when a lot of us practiced, was cut down this year or outright cancelled for more stick and puck time.”Open skate was scaled back this year to make room for the increasing number of students who participate in stick and puck at the University Moffitt said.”Our first charge is to serve the entire student body,” she said. “Based on the numbers that we collected, we feel that the schedule change was appropriate in an effort to accommodate more students.”The UVM Figure Skating Club has doubled in size this fall and is open to all incoming and current students said Truax. The club encourages and supports the growth of skating at all levels of ability, from beginner to national competitors.The University also provides a figure skating class where local coaches come and teach students the fundamentals of skating and competing, which some members of the club use as additional practice she said.When asked about the anticipated results in this competition as well as the season Truax said, “We’ve been training, are prepared and will be happy no matter what place we get.”We skate not for the spotlight or the drama with money and time, but because we’re excited to be out on the ice, which is why we’re going to excel no matter what.”