Back to back: Evanston figure skating team captures second consecutive national championship

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Back to back: Evanston figure skating team captures second consecutive national championship

Freshman Lucia Mena skates at the national championship.

Freshman Lucia Mena skates at the national championship.

Photo courtesy of Alina Fernandez

Freshman Lucia Mena skates at the national championship.

Photo courtesy of Alina Fernandez

Photo courtesy of Alina Fernandez

Freshman Lucia Mena skates at the national championship.

Eli Cohen, Sophia McCandlish, and Chris Werner

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On March 30 in Brighton, Michigan, the Evanston figure skating team won its second straight national championship.

“This has been the most exciting year for our team,” coach Jana Reynolds said. “It was exhilarating winning nationals last year but defending our title took it to a whole different level.”

This year’s victories in the high, intermediate and low combined points competitions came a year after the team won both the low and intermediate divisions in 2018.

The three categories correspond to different skill levels, where points are awarded for execution of spins, moves and jumps. Judges score each element based on entry, performance and exit of each element. The first place winner gets the same amount of points as the number of competitors in that section. If a section has six participants, the winner receives six points and the sixth place finisher gets one point.

“Aside from the intro, execution and exit, we also work on their skating skills so they’re skating fast and powerfully,” Reynolds explained.

Evanston has 14 skaters, seven of whom attend ETHS. The team sent nine athletes to the national finals, including four Evanston students.

Sophomore Catie Glascot competed in the high division, freshman Lucia Mena in the
intermediate and juniors Catherine Reynolds and Nessa Collins both skated in the low category.

Evanston scored 13 points in the high division to tie for first place, 10 points in intermediate for a two-point victory and 14 points in the low section for a one-point win.

“I was feeling a lot of different emotions. I was a little nervous because I knew there was a lot at stake,” Glasgot said.

Even for those who didn’t travel to Brighton for the national competition, there are countless hours and preparation involved in skating year-round.

“I skate 18 to 20 hours [per week] just on the ice alone,” junior Alina Fernandez said. “For me, skating is year round, so I never really have a break. I skate everyday before school as well as every day after school.” The sport of skating isn’t just limited to Evanston’s Robert Crown ice for Fernandez, who is traveling to France for Theater On Ice. Theater On Ice is an intense competitive skating competition that combines the grace of figure skating and the exhilaration theater and dance.

“I also have another commitment for skating in Theater On Ice,” Fernandez explained. “Currently I’m representing team USA and I’ll be traveling to France [to compete].”

National championship trophies could be returning to Evanston in 2020 as well, as eight of the nine national competitors plan to be back on the team next season.