In only its second year, the Nauset Figure Skating Club is having a lot of new experiences, including cyber skating.
The club participated in the first-ever Fall Cyber Challenge through U.S. Figure Skating earlier this month. Instead of competing against other teams in front of a panel of judges, the skaters performed maneuvers on their own, with no crowd at Charles Moore Arena (CMA) in Orleans.
Club coach Tamsyn Shaw filmed the sessions and sent the videos to a panel of judges for them to review and score. Shaw said the team should receive its scores in about a week.
There are 10 levels in high school figure skating, from beginner to senior, so skaters participate based on their skill. Team maneuver events consist of at least two skaters performing synchronized choreographed moves.
Three Nauset skaters participated together in the intermediate level of competition, and three competed together at the high level. At each level, skaters had to execute nine different elements (jumps, spins, sequences, etc.).
In all, Shaw sent in 18 different videos for evaluation.
It was the club’s first competition of the year, and it came just in time, because indoor skating rinks across Massachusetts were shut down on Oct. 23 for at least two weeks per order of Gov. Charlie Baker.
“There have been at least 30 clusters of Covid-19 associated with organized ice hockey activities in the Commonwealth,” according to a statement from the Mass. Dept. of Public Health. “Each of these clusters has two or more confirmed or probable Covid-19 cases, totaling 108 confirmed cases and more than 225 exposed contacts. There is at least one hockey-associated case of Covid-19 in at least 66 cities and towns in the Commonwealth.”
“It’s a big bummer,” Shaw said. “We just went back in person last week. It was nice for them to socialize and see their skating friends.”
The figure skating club took first place in its first-ever competition last year at the Harvestfest competition in Dover, N.H., on Oct. 6. The club then competed twice more before a final showcase scheduled for May was canceled. But the Orleans arena opened back up in the middle of the summer, so skaters who could were able to participate in individual practices, according to Shaw.
The arena was open for skating and hockey lessons this fall until just last week, when the statewide shutdown was announced.
Recording the skaters’ moves on video had some advantages and disadvantages.
“If they messed up, I could take a new video,” Shaw said. But what made it challenging, she added, was that the team had the ice for a club skating session, so skaters did not get their own individual ice time.
A second cyber challenge through U.S. Figure Skating is scheduled for February and Shaw is hopeful the team will be able to participate.
“It’s an artistic freestyle,” she said. “Each individual skater will be skating to music of their choice.”
After that, Shaw said, the hope is that U.S. Figure Skating will do some in-person competition. “Though, at this point, that type of planning can’t happen, we’d love to host one at CMA again,” she said.
Shaw said the skaters were happy that the remote setup was in place so they could compete in some fashion. Now, the club can only wait to see if the statewide rink shutdown ends on Nov. 7 or continues after that.