Wednesday, February 5, 2003
Steamboat Springs In only its second year of existence, Steamboat Springs' synchronized skate team placed first in the 2003 Pacific Coast Sectional championships held in San Diego.
Last year, the girls finished second.
Known as Team Volant, which means the ability to move easily as in flying, the 12-girl team was a unanimous winner in the Introductory Teen division of the championships.
Not only did all seven judges place Team Volant first; the ordinals weren't even close, coach Courtney Gill said. Based upon the standard 6.0 scale used in figure skating competitions, the Steamboat team received an average of 3.4.
The next closest team received scores in the 2.0 range.
"I knew going in there they had a shot at doing very well," Gill said. "I couldn't have asked them to skate a better program."
Team Volant will be performing that same program again Friday night in an exhibition at Howelsen Ice Arena at 7 p.m.
It will be their final performance this season. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and under or those with a student ID.
The Steamboat synchronized skate team will be joined in the show by several out-of-town figure skaters, including Bradon Overett who finished 10th at the U.S. Senior Nationals and up-and-comer Maddison Bullock, 10, who just won the Junior National title at the juvenile level.
This is one of three ice shows the Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club puts on every year.
All of the girls involved in Team Volant are part of the club, but the synchronized skate team is relatively new. Gill created the team last year but was unsure of how she would do coaching it.
Gill skated on the top national team located in Lexington, Mass., for seven years. They were five-time national champions and went on to compete across the world.
"Just because you're a good skater doesn't mean you'll be a good coach," Gill said. "I'd been away from the sport for five years, but I said I am going to start this team and see how it goes. I'll take what I remember and what I know and put this team together. To my amazement it's worked out really well."
It's also most likely saved a couple girls from leaving the sport, said Kim Haggarty, president of Steamboat Springs Figure Skating Club.
Not every girl is blessed with the ability to jump or spin well at the singles level.
Once they are put with a team, however, they blossom.
Gill saw it.
"It's so hard to be on the ice alone," Gill said. "With this you have 11 teammates and friends that you've worked so hard with standing next to you."
Following the team's success in San Diego, a girl that was thinking of dropping out before joining the team, approached Gill and told the coach that she finally saw what figure skating was all about.
"That's what's great to hear," Gill said.
The girls on Team Volant range in age from 12-17 but because everyone was new to the synchronized skate team age wasn't an issue, Gill said.
She will be losing one member of the squad, but the team is anxious to continue to build upon its success.
Next year, Gill said, Team Volant plans on moving up a division to compete for a spot at nationals.