NRHS — “Shocked” is how the members of the Nauset Figure Skating Club described their first-place finish at the Harvestfest competition in Dover, N.H. on Oct. 6. The club is new for the regional high school this year.
The Nauset club is made up of eight skaters ranging from sophomores to seniors. Six girls from the team competed in New Hampshire against 12 other New England teams. The Harvestfest event was part of U.S. Figure Skating’s high school figure skating series, offered in several states and hosted by the New England InterClub Council.
There are 10 levels in high school figure skating, from beginner to senior, so skaters participate based on their skill, but all get the chance to tackle three events: excel free skate, team maneuvers, and a showcase.
The excel event is a choreographed solo free skate where each skater must perform a set of moves in a timed slot. Team maneuver events consist of at least two skaters performing synchronized choreographed moves.
It is in the showcase program that skaters get to use their imaginations. They perform either a solo or duet expressing a carefree concept or storyline. And the goal, according to U.S. Figure Skating rules, is to uplift and entertain the audience.
“It’s like you’re in a play but on ice,” Haley Tortora said of the showcase. Tortora, who finished third in the juvenile-level free skate at the competition, plans to do her own “Newsies”-themed showcase at the club’s next competition. She says she will be dressing up as an old-time newspaper boy.
About halfway through the Dover competition the judges announced that Nauset was in fourth place, which excited the skaters. Throughout the competition, events are judged on a point system, and all points, even from individual events, contribute to the team’s overall score.
When they heard Nauset announced as the winner at the end of the day, the skaters couldn’t believe it.
“There was an audible gasp in the arena,” Isabella Valentino said. “We were very shocked.”
“This was a lot of fun,” Makenna Dwyer said. She finished second in the novice-level excel free skate.
Even though this was their first outing as a team, the Nauset skaters are far from inexperienced. Every skater in the club has put in at least 10 years on the ice. They are all part of Lower Cape Figure Skating and have competed in individual meets before.
Tamsyn Shaw of Brewster, whose daughter Delaney Shaw finished first last week in both the senior-level excel free skate and the showcase, said the club represents an opportunity to recognize the hard work of a group of skaters who regularly practice at Charles Moore Arena in Orleans.
Last spring, Shaw reached out to Nauset Athletic Director John Mattson about creating the club. She pointed out they wouldn’t need any resources from the school, as the girls have their own individual coaches, skates, and ice time at the arena. What they did need was a label as a club in order to participate in the competition series.
That recognition means a lot to the high school skaters. After they finished first, the Nauset Sports Twitter account posted a photo of the girls with a congratulatory caption. The photo made the rounds on social media, boosting the team’s confidence.
Even though most of the girls have been skating for years, their friends and teachers didn’t know much about that until the Oct. 6 meet.
Back at school it was nice to hear “Congrats on the competition!” Tortora said.
All the skaters said they plan to be in more events at the next competition and they are pairing up to participate in duet showcases.
The teams’ points are cumulatively tallied through three competitions, and a winner is crowned at the end of the series.
“Now they have something to work toward,” Shaw said.
She hopes younger skaters in Lower Cape Figure Skating will now look forward to joining the club. Maybe, she said, it will eventually turn into an actual team at the high school.
“They would love for it to be considered a sport and not just a club,” she said.
Next up for Nauset figure skating is the Thanksgiving Classic competition on Nov. 9 in Falmouth, Maine. The third and final competition of the series will be held on March 7 at the Charles Moore Arena in Orleans.