Formations on Ice: The UWEC Figure Skaters

    Get to know the students who take the ice in synchronized figure skating

    More stories from Ryan Huling


    Photo by Sam Farley

    Two teammates, Timmy Zupanc and Alexandra O’Hara choose an elegant way to warm up.

    At UW-Eau Claire, the figure skating team is a group that brings people of different education clusters together.

    The team comprises 14 students who perform synchronized ice shows for am audience. The team works together to create shapes and formations on the ice. Paige Kaiser, a third-year actuarial science student, and Alexandra O’Hara, a third-year criminal justice student, said that each member must be in sync with the rest of the group to create pristine looking formations.

    They perform at hockey games and ice shows throughout the Midwest to entertain.

    According to Mackenzie Shay, a third-year English education and Spanish education student, the group has allowed them to be part of something that relieves stress from school work.

    “This team is really a nice way to get away from homework and stresses of life to get away with friends to do something you love,” said Shay. UW-Eau Claire is the only school in the UW System to have a synchronized figure skating team, according to the captains.

    Many of the members continued skating because of the future UW-Eau Claire could offer for their skating career.

    It also drew many of the members to the university. Some are from Illinois and, upon learning that UW-Eau Claire had a figure skating team, chose to attend. Even after transferring, one member came back to be a part of the team again.

    Kaiser, co-captain of the team, said since last year, the team has grown tremendously. Last year, the team had eight members. One semester later, the team had more than doubled in size, reaching 19 members.

    “We really wanted an opportunity to continue it in college,” Kaiser said. “It encourages young girls to keep going.”

    The team practices twice a week, once on the ice at Hobbs Ice Arena and once off the ice in McPhee Strength and Performance Center. They begin by warming up their bodies and transition to focusing on formations.

    “When we work on our skills together, we all improve,” said O’Hara. “It’s a very welcoming and encouraging environment to be in.”

    The captains said the team focuses to make their practices as efficient as they can be. They are very team-oriented and must work together and collaborate to perform as best they can. Every member of the team has a role to play and is relied on.

    The team has performed at the Dr. Richard Porter Synchronized Classic in Ann Arbor, Michigan — which the captains said was their favorite — as well as at the La Crosse Ice Show this past weekend, just to name a few.

    Catch the UW-Eau Claire figure skating team at the Eau Claire Ice Show on April 11, 12 and 13 at the Hobbs.

    Huling can be reached at [email protected].