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Living on the Edge
Sophomore Kiana Stadler started figure skating before it was cool.
The scratch of the ice beneath her, gliding so smoothly she’s almost flying, cool air hitting her cheeks as she spins - the joys of figure skating. Sophomore Kiana Stadler says, “The gracefulness of figure skating really pulled me in.” She is the president of the UMD Figure Skating Club, which is made up of a synchronized skating team, an individual team, and a recreational team.
Kiana came up to UMD from Ames, Iowa, to study finance and management and to skate with the Figure Skating Club. She enjoys school, playing piano and percussion, and she volunteers at animal shelters, but she admits, “My main passion is figure skating.”
Growing Up on the Rink
Kiana started skating from a young age. She recalls, “I’ve been skating competitively since I was seven, but I started off playing hockey when I was three. I decided that was definitely not for me, so then I switched over and I fell in love with it.” She trained individually with three different coaches who specialized in different skating disciplines, and she traveled with them and other skaters to free skate competitions.
As does every sport, figure skating held challenges for Kiana. “It’s really difficult when you feel like you didn’t reach your goal,” Kiana acknowledges. “There were times when I thought, ‘Maybe I should just quit, I’m not going to reach my goal,’ but I had a really great support system. My family, as well as my coaches and other skaters, are the reasons I kept working harder and harder to finally achieve those goals.”
During her junior year of high school, Kiana had to make a decision between skating in college or professionally for Disney on Ice. After talking with the former president of the Figure Skating Club, she made her choice. “The Figure Skating Club was the reason I decided to come to UMD. I think I made the right decision overall.”
After a year of going to every practice and volunteer event, Kiana’s dedication to the club grew when she became the club president. She works with the coaches, other club officers, and team captains to put together fundraisers and to ensure that everyone is ready for their competitions. “It’s a big role and it’s a lot of delegating jobs to other people,” Kiana states. “It’s a really big learning opportunity. I love it.”
This Club is Chill
There are several reasons why Kiana loves the Figure Skating Club so much. She shares, “In high school, your training for competitions gets to be a lot of pressure. Here, the competitions are fun.” She also gained a new perspective when she came to UMD. “You never really understand a team sport when you skate individually, but when you come here, we are all a team. We’ll even cheer for each other in practice. You don’t see that in the typical ice rink.”
Being part of the Figure Skating Club is a big commitment. Kiana explains, “Our synchronized team practices two times a week, so that’s about four hours a week. Our individual and recreational teams have ice time Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, and we also have off-ice training once a week for an hour.” She adds, “Our individual practices aren’t mandatory, but you’re encouraged to go to them if you want to succeed in competitions.”
These competitions are against other colleges in the Midwest and take place over three different weekends per season. Individual skaters can pick their own programs to skate in competition, while the synchronized team vote between different programs that their coach determines. In addition to competitions the club has one exhibition performance here in Duluth. Kiana says, “Our teams will be skating their programs at our show on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at 4pm at the Mars Lakeview Ice Arena.”
Kiana agrees that it is beneficial to her college experience. “I wouldn’t have met any of the girls on the team if it wasn’t for skating. I’ve really formed a strong bond with them. It’s a great get-away and relaxation.” You don’t have to know how to figure skate in order to join the club. Kiana adds, “If you wanted to join the club and learn how to skate, you could.”
If you’re looking to join a fun club next fall, Kiana encourages you: “You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us you’re interested in skating. We can give you more information, or you can just come to practice to see if you like it.”
To learn about UMD’s Figure Skating Club, how to get involved, and more information about their schedule, visit their website here.