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Figure Skating Club Going for Championship Ending to Season

Team ranks second in Eastern Conference

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Andrea Mohns-Brillaud believes this year’s BU Figure Skating Club has the talent to compete against anyone—including the University of Delaware, which has won the Intercollegiate National Championships the last three years and leads the Eastern Conference in points this season.

The skating club, led by head coach Mohns-Brillaud (COM’87), is off to Delaware today to compete in the 2016 national competition, being held tomorrow and Sunday. The competition consists of several events, among them free skate, short program, solo dance, and team maneuvers.

Our skaters “know they can win this competition,” says Mohns-Brillaud, who is also the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance skating coordinator and the skating director at Philips Academy. “They know they can compete with the greats. We’ve come a long way from when the club started. It’s been quite the journey.”

Founded in 1974, the club was more recreational than competitive during its first three-and-a-half decades, never placing higher than fourth in nationals during that time. But the club underwent a transformation in 2009.

In her first season as coach, Mohns-Brillaud says, she instructed the players to decide: did they want to continue to be a recreational team and have fun, or did they want to be more competitive and start winning? At a players-only meeting, they voted 39-1 to become more competitive. The results were palpable. That year, the team won its first-ever nationals championship, doing it again in 2010, and cementing BU as one of the top club figure skating programs in the country.

“We changed the whole structure,” the coach says. “We started making cuts, bringing in stronger skaters, and having mandatory practices. Students started coming to BU just to check out the program. Positive results led to more talented kids coming, and we haven’t been less than third in nationals ever since.”

Tryouts are in September and skaters making the team must commit to a demanding schedule. Open skate is held Sunday through Friday, from 7 to 9 a.m. and from 1:30 to 3 p.m., and members are required to come at least four days a week. Mohns-Brillaud says that many of the players come more frequently.

BU Figure Skating Club head coach Andrea Mohns-Brillaud (COM’87) (right) and Noelle Weill (COM’19) during a recent practice at Walter Brown Arena.

BU Figure Skating Club head coach Andrea Mohns-Brillaud (COM’87) (right) and Noelle Weill (COM’19) during a recent practice at Walter Brown Arena.

Despite losing a starter to injury just before the SUNY Geneseo Intercollegiate Competition last month—the team’s most recent competition—the club still managed to place second. But avoiding injuries this weekend will be imperative to capturing the championship, says club president and captain Naomi Tinkelman (CAS’17). “We need literally everyone in order to compete,” she says. “If we’re missing any of our starters, it immediately hurts our chances. To win nationals, we just have to stay healthy, and I really hope we do.”

To do well this weekend, it’s necessary for everyone to place as high as possible in whatever events they’re competing in, as the points earned in each event are totaled at the end of the competition.

Despite the skaters’ varying levels of ability, club member Taylor Dean (COM’18) says the program emphasizes a culture of mutual support. “We’re all really close,” she says. “I’ve never felt a bond with a group of people like this before. We know when to help each other out and when to get on each other, and no one is afraid to speak up. It’s really a blessing.”

The BU skaters say they are heading into this year’s nationals with a new level of optimism and an eye toward clinching a third title. “I would say we’re definitely a lot more confident than previous years,” Dean says. “At every competition leading up to nationals, we’ve been either first or second, in front of Delaware up until the last moments of the competition.

“So, we’ve got pretty high hopes for this one, and I think we can take it all.”

The Boston University Figure Skating Club competes in the 2016 Intercollegiate National Championships tomorrow, Saturday, April 9, and again Sunday, April 10, at the University of Delaware Fred Rust and Gold Ice Arenas, 547 South College Ave., Newark, Del. The competition is free and open to the public. Find more information here. 

The BU Figure Skating Club holds tryouts in September. Learn more about the club here.

Emmanuel Gomez can be reached at mannygo@bu.edu.     

5 Comments

5 Comments on Figure Skating Club Going for Championship Ending to Season

  • Club Fan on 04.08.2016 at 9:19 am

    Way to go Skaters. Pulling for you to win!

  • Barbara Green-Glaz on 04.08.2016 at 10:01 am

    Coach Andrea Mohns-Brillaud is the best!

  • Rebecca and Tom Weill on 04.08.2016 at 10:02 am

    Have a GR8 SK8! Go BU!!!

  • Cheryl Webb Scott on 04.08.2016 at 11:16 am

    So nice to see pictures of them practicing instead of performing. Really brings home the dedication of an athlete to perfect their skills.

  • Vera Goodman on 04.08.2016 at 9:41 pm

    Love all the pictures. Beautiful skating.

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