Tag Archives: Kristin Zinsmeister

Dartmouth College Hopes to Defend Title on Home Ice at 2013 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships

12 Apr

By Kristin Zinsmeister

Reigning intercollegiate champion Dartmouth College could be the team-to-beat heading into the 2013 Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships. Last year, the team soared above their competitors, earning 130 points, 33 more than second place. Dartmouth’s domination, however, is not a new occurrence. Since 2004, the team has won the Intercollegiate Championships five consecutive years from 2004-08, and hold more intercollegiate titles than any other team. This year, Dartmouth will seek to defend their title on home ice as the event will take place at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., April 13-14.

“Skating on home ice will be nice for our team because we will have so much support from our friends, family and alumni who will be attending the event. This will give the skaters comfort and confidence, which we hope will bring out their best performances,” Dartmouth’s coach, Jacki Smith, said.

The “Big Green” team will be challenged by two former intercollegiate champions, Boston University (2009-10) and the University of Delaware (2002, ’11), as well as the 2012 intercollegiate pewter medalists, University of California, Berkeley.

To prepare, Dartmouth’s skaters have undergone a training program that emphasizes physical strength and team unity.

“We are continuing and improving our training regimen that we instituted last year before the Intercollegiate Championships, which included interval training, power sessions and partner training. Off-ice, we stress the importance of team cohesion, and skaters spend a lot of time with each other.”

The skaters build off-ice relationships by studying, eating and rooming together, which fosters the camaraderie that contributes to Dartmouth’s on-going success as a competitive team.

In addition to strengthening team unity, the friendships built among team members offer a release from the stresses of college life, a benefit Smith sees first-hand.

“Skating with the team has become a cornerstone experience for all of our skaters here at Dartmouth. The intercollegiate program allows skaters to pursue something they have loved from an early age in a setting that puts school first. Skaters can come to the rink and let go of anything that is happening away from the ice.”

This love for skating shines through as each of Dartmouth’s team members perform with a smile and a determination that bode well for earning intercollegiate titles. However, the team’s goal for the 2013 Intercollegiate Team Championships focuses on performance over placement.

“Our primary goal for the Intercollegiate Championships is to skate with no regrets, both individually and as an overall team. We want our skaters to be proud of their progress and all of the effort they put in this season.”

The Intercollegiate Team Championships is the culmination of the intercollegiate competition season. To qualify, teams must participate in three conference events and earn the most points in their respective sections (Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast). Approximately 30 colleges entered the series and the top three from each section qualify.

To learn more about intercollegiate skating, visit www.usfsa.org/programs.

The 2012 champions, Dartmouth College.

The 2012 champions, Dartmouth College.

University of Delaware Confident as Defending Champions

17 Apr

By Kristin Zinsmeister

The University of Delaware Collegiate Figure Skating Team (UDCFST) is on the rise. They are the 2011 Intercollegiate Team champions and are undefeated this season, having won at Cornell in November, MIT in February and on its home ice at UD’s intercollegiate competition in March.

“It’s really exciting to be able to defend our title,” said Noelle Tuttle, the team’s public relations officer. “We have a great team again this year and we all work really well together. With the way our competitions have been going so far, I think we have a strong chance of repeating as national champions.”

Their next competition will be in Colorado Springs, Colo., for the 2012 Intercollegiate Team Championships, April 21-22 at Honnen Ice Arena on Colorado College’s campus. There, they will face competition from their main rivals, Dartmouth College and Boston University.

The Intercollegiate Team Championships originally lasted an afternoon, but are now two-day events, featuring skating from each skating level and college year. The event is the culmination of the intercollegiate competition season. To qualify, teams must participate in three conference events and earn the most points in their respective sections (Eastern, Midwestern and Pacific Coast). Approximately 30 colleges entered the series and the top three from each section qualify.

“We feel very confident and honored to have another opportunity to compete at the Intercollegiate Championships against such prestigious teams.” said Julianne DiMura, the team’s secretary.

UDCFST, along with many other intercollegiate skating programs, have experienced dramatic growth and acquired members who competed on the national and/or international circuit.

“It is amazing how competitive collegiate figure skating has become and how the quality of the participating skaters continues to improve each year, given the demands of balancing academics and training.” DiMura said.

Melinda Wang, the team’s treasurer, agreed.

“We have a great mix of dancers and freestyle skaters of all levels, making us an overall well-rounded, strong team,” Wang said. “As a board member, it becomes really difficult to decide which skater will receive a start because our team is so large and all of our skaters are dedicated, talented and would compete really well.”

UDCFST consists of 28 members that include five seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores and nine freshmen. They hold one team practice per week, which their coach, Joel McKeever, oversees. However, each skater must practice individually at times that accommodate their academic schedules and may take lessons from any coach(es) they choose. Members must also participate in team workouts, which include things such as weightlifting and Pilates.

To learn more about intercollegiate skating, visit www.usfsa.org/programs.

Julianne DiMura - Courtesy of Christie Kievit

Stylin’: Fashion on Ice Airs Nov. 13

10 Nov

By Kristin Zinsmeister

Bold, elegant, show-stopping — these adjectives describe both the skaters and the costumes seen in Disson Skating’s Fashion on Ice show, where skating greats wear fashions designed especially for them by renowned designers Betsey Johnson and J. Mendel.

Fashion on Ice marks the second of eight Disson shows, which airs on Nov. 13 on NBC from 4-6 p.m. (ET) and will be rebroadcast on Friday, Nov. 25.

Hosting the night’s festivities are Victoria Secret model Karolina Kurkova and 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski.

“This show has such a fresh, young vibe,” Lipinski said about the outfits and performances. “Skating costumes can sometimes be predictable, but to have two cutting-edge designers involved in the design process produced a new, fun take on the skaters’ outfits.”

The show’s lineup of skating champions includes 2002 Olympic champion Sarah Hughes, 2011 World champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White, 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, 2010 U.S. Olympians Johnny Weir and Jeremy Abbott, U.S. champions Ryan Bradley and Alissa Czisny, and the U.S. pairs pewter medalists Mary Beth Marley and Rockne Brubaker.

In addition to wearing fashions by famous designers, the skaters also enjoyed the musical stylings of Aretha Franklin, who sang “A Woman Falling Out of Love” from her new hit album and closed the show with her famous song “Respect.”

“There were so many great personalities in this show, from Betsey Johnson, J.Mendel to the one and only Aretha Franklin and, of course, so many amazing champions,” Lipinski said.


Heartfelt Skating

1 Nov

Editor’s Note: Sarah Fuller and Jana Raisner have a lot in common. Both love to skate, both medaled at the National Solo Dance Championships and, most significantly, both have heart conditions. For Fuller and Raisner, skating from the heart takes on a whole new meaning as the sport they love is also an essential part of maintaining a normal life.

Heartfelt Skating

Skating from the heart takes on a new meaning for these skaters

By Kristin Zinsmeister


At three weeks old, Sarah Fuller, now 13, was diagnosed with a combination of congenital heart defects that made her arteries too small for her body. She is the only person in the world with this combination of conditions. In 2008, she underwent bypass surgery to increase the size of the arteries to her heart. She also had three balloon angioplasties to the arteries in her lungs and will require many more.

Although her surgeries were high-risk procedures, Fuller’s skating provided her with the strength she needed to survive bypass surgery.  

“The doctor told me that being an athlete increased my lung capacity and without it, I wouldn’t have made it.” Fuller said about her heart surgeries. “I love skating, but for me, even if I didn’t like skating, I would still do it because it strengthens my heart and I can’t participate in other physical activities.”

Fuller cannot participate in contact sports or anything that could possibly cause her to take a blow to the chest because of the delicate state of her heart. Luckily for her, she loves to skate and is on the ice six to seven hours daily, practicing and taking lessons from 1976 Olympic ice dancing bronze medalist Jim Millns at the Tampa Bay Skating Club in Tampa, Fla.

All her practice paid off when she won every qualifying event going into National Solo Dance Championships in Colorado Springs, Colo. At the national championships, she also won gold.

Although skating helps Fuller’s heart, she also loves the thrill of improving and competing. At her first test session, she passed seven tests and competed at regionals on the juvenile level last year.

When asked about her goals, Fuller is quick to respond, “I want to get stronger and make it to nationals,” she said.


When Jana Raisner was diagnosed with supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) at the age of 12, the first question she asked was, “Can I still skate?”

Raisner, who began skating at the age of 10, suffers from SVT, a condition that randomly increases her heart rate while she is at rest. SVT episodes come on suddenly and can last from a few minutes to two days depending on the severity of the episode.

“My heart can go from resting to 290 beats per minute,” she said. “It feels like you’re on a roller coaster and your heart drops or skips a beat.”

Due to her condition, Raisner has had three heart surgeries and at one point, acquired a concussion that left her with a temporary learning disability.

However, Raisner is not about to let SVT stand in her way. Under the instruction two-time U.S. ice dancing bronze medalist Oleg Fediokov and two-time Ukrainian junior men’s and  junior ice dancing champion Slava Uchitel, her skating career has flourished. She was ranked first on the East Coast heading into the National Solo Dance Championships and became the bronze medalist at the event.

“Solo dance nationals was awesome,” she said. “I’ve never been to that level of competition before and qualifying and being ranked first on the East Coast was the ultimate accomplishment for me.”

Raisner she is working toward a degree in exercise science at the University of Delaware and competes for the University of Delaware Collegiate Figure Skating Team, the reigning intercollegiate national champions.

“I love skating.” Raisner said. “I need to stay in the sport so that my heart stays strong.”

For more SKATING magazine web extras, click here.


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