By Scott Williams
One of the newest club sports at Youngstown State University is a creative yet competitive activity — ice skating.
The Skating Club of YSU’s purpose is to promote student awareness of ice skating in the Mahoning Valley and to provide students with the opportunity to maintain a fit and active lifestyle through figure skating. The organization is also meant to encourage and cultivate a spirit of teamwork amongst skaters, as well as the instruction, practice and advancement of the members in ice skating.
Jenna Vaughn, a skater and member of the club’s board, said four women who skated together at the Ice Zone in Boardman created the team.
“The four of us knew each other through the Ice Zone and we decided we wanted to compete in college, and there was a great opportunity where we could start a club sport through YSU,” Vaughn said. “We contacted the United States Figure Skating Association and then from there we contacted Joe Conroy at YSU and we became a club sport as part of the Intramural Sports Program at the Rec Center.
“On our roster, there are approximately 20 members. Competitively, however, there are six of us that compete.”
The club competes at three competitions during their season from January to March. Other than that, the group gets to spend a lot of time on the ice together with their members. They attend public sessions and practice different types of skating, such as freestyle.
Over the weekend of Feb. 21-22, the group competed at the 2015 Maize and Blue Matchup competition hosted at the University of Michigan. In the Intermediate Team Maneuvers category, the four females and one male competing for YSU placed first.
“I think [the first place win] has really lifted us up as a team and brought us closer to know that we can do anything that we put our minds to, as long as we work really hard,” Vaughn said.
While at the Maize and Blue Matchup, the club also competed in individual events.
“The five of us competed in single events in Michigan, and then we competed as a whole. Everyone performed really well in their single events and then in our team event we took a first place home. We did so well in January at our previous competition, where we placed second, and we kind of hoped to place a little higher this time,” Vaughn said. “Everybody was really confident in their elements with their skills that they had to do on the ice at this past competition.”
Vaughn said skating has become a meaningful part of her life and encourages those who have never gone ice skating before to try it out.
“Skating is a pretty important part of my life. I’ve been skating for five years, and I love the experience and the sport,” she said. “There are a lot of great people that I’ve met along the way that can really change someone’s life.”
While the top competitors of the group can regularly be found at the Ice Zone most of the week training with their coaches, the club as a whole meets the second Sunday of each month during one of the Zone’s public sessions.
“To anybody considering joining, I would say that you can definitely join,” Vaughn said. “We don’t have a specific set skill level — anyone can come out and be a part of the club as long as you like to skate and like to come out to the Ice Zone.”