‘Totally for Fun:’ Event Brings Out Best in Competition, Camaraderie

Adult Skating Committee members at the 24th annual U.S. Adult Championships (l-r) Julie Gidlow. Cheryl Morrisson, Stephen Trzaska, Rachel Firlik, Jocelyn Delmar, Lori Fussell (chair), Rochelle Revor, Alexandra Dunne-Bryant, Aviva Cantor, Kerri Botorff, Wendy Bauer, Marcia Richards, Rick Perez (technical group coordinator), Lexi Rohner (national vice chair, adult skating competitions)

Adult Skating Committee members at the 24th annual U.S. Adult Championships (l-r) Julie Gidlow. Cheryl Morrisson, Stephen Trzaska, Rachel Firlik, Jocelyn Delmar, Lori Fussell (chair), Rochelle Revor, Alexandra Dunne-Bryant, Aviva Cantor, Kerri Botorff, Wendy Bauer, Marcia Richards, Rick Perez (technical group coordinator), Lexi Rohner (national vice chair, adult skating competitions)

Sure, Regan Alsup loves to win. But that’s not what drives the three-time and reigning championship masters junior-senior ladies titlist.

“That’s what I love about adult skating, it’s not my job. It sometimes was when I was younger, but now it’s totally for fun,” Alsup, 26, said at the conclusion of the 24th annual U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Marlborough, Massachusetts, April 10-14.

The “fun” that Alsup talks about was on full display at the eight-sheet New England Sports Center, where more than 400 skaters between the ages of 21 and 85 put out their best on the ice, with the unconditional support of their fellow skaters cheering them on in the bleachers. They shared the facility with dozens of youth hockey teams, which played games throughout each day and evening.

“The support and camaraderie shown by our athletes is always a joy to witness,” U.S. Adult Chair Lori Fussell said.

The Yarmouth Skating Club hosted the event and received accolades from the competitors and Fussell. Hospitality chair Margaret Macadam was a big hit, making sure all of the event officials were taken care, with a warm place to relax and get a bite to eat between events.

“We are grateful for the love, energy and care that they put into each and every detail,” Fussell said. “And that opening ceremony had the audience on their feet and in tears.”

The opening ceremony told the story of a skater’s lifelong journey on the ice and embodied the spirit of the U.S. Figure Skating family.

“It was a gift that won’t be forgotten,” Fussell said.

Several of the competitors stepped up to aid the local organizing committee when chief referee Alex Enzmann asked for volunteers to help as sweepers.

The event marked the first year for solo free dance events, and the international judging system (IJS) was used for the championship silver events for the first time.

“We intend to further transition to IJS and offered two seminars to help adult skaters competing in IJS events and also those who are preparing to transition,” Fussell said.

Elliot Schwartz, national vice chair for education on the technical panel committee, presented “Maximizing Points in IJS.” He explained that there is no such thing as a perfect program. He joked: “Figure skating attracts perfectionists and then tortures them.”

“This not only became a meme within days, T-shirts are now also being sold,” Fussell said.

Rochelle Revor and Ian Macadam, adult skating committee vice chairs, presented an introduction to the IJS seminar.

The competition marked another milestone for seven skaters, who have competed at each of the 24 U.S. Adult Championships. On hand in Marlborough were Angela Prevost, Julie Gidlow, Colleen Conroy, Dorothy Ray, Thom Mullins, Walter Horton and Ted Gradman.

Margaret Atkins, 85, received the Yvonne M. Dowlen Trophy, which is given to the oldest skater at the U.S. Adult Championships. Dowlen was an inspiration to countless skaters, skating and competing until her death two years ago at age 90.

“This competition was a success in every way,” Fussell said. “I can’t wait to celebrate the event’s historic 25th anniversary next year.”

For all the stories from the 2018 U.S. Adult Championships, read the June/July 2018 issue of SKATING magazine.