They glide and crisscross with a finite precision. Their blue skirts twirl as they sway across the ice. Eleven skaters skating on the same page, forming one cohesive unit. All who watched were mesmerized as the Ice Effect skaters dashed and twirled their way to first place to the music of Cher. The Oswego Ice Effects had won the Eastern Regionals.
The Ice Effects are Oswego State’s club synchronized skating team. Like synchronized swimming, the individual skaters of the Ice Effects perform choreographed movements together as one.
The synchronized skating season runs from mid-October through March, when the national competition is held. In competitions, each team must skate and perform in certain formations known as elements. There are five elements: circle, line, pinwheel, intersection and block. Every synchronized skating team’s program involves these five elements.
For these elements to be performed successfully, every skater needs to be in tune with the rest of her team.
“That’s probably the hardest part, getting everyone on the same timing on the same time.” sophomore Kate Whiteman said.
The Ice Effects skate at the open collegiate level, meaning that even though they won the Eastern Regionals, that is as far as the team will get to go. Unlike in regular collegiate, the team that wins Eastern Regionals in open collegiate doesn’t move on to the national competition.
As of last year, the Ice Effects skated at the collegiate level, but due to a number of skaters graduating and a few more studying aboard, the team couldn’t make the minimum requirement of skaters. They need at least 12 skaters. The Ice Effects have 11.
The Ice Effects plan to return to the collegiate level next season. The team held a recruiting weekend this past year in the hopes that the team can increase its numbers for next season.
The Ice Effects held an exhibition at the Empire State Games, being the first college team to do so. The Empire State Games are a big deal in the world of high school and grade school winter sports.
“We only went there to show younger teams that we exist, and to show them that we can skate, we have a team,” junior Kayleigh Marko said. “We had a lot of teams watching us.”
Unlike most club teams at Oswego State, the synchronized skating team doesn’t have a varsity bigger sister. They are the only synchronized skating team at Oswego State. This presents a number of challenges.
Due to a lack of synchronized skating teams in the New York state area, the Ice Effects are forced to compete against much larger schools, such as Syracuse University and Cornell University, who can summon many more resources for their teams.
As a club team, the Ice Effects aren’t allowed access to the facilities in Laker Hall, and other privileges that the varsity teams enjoy.
“As much as we love being a club team, sometimes it feels like we get pushed under a little bit,” senior Sarah Godoic said. “It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just we wish we had some of the advantages that the varsity teams have.”
Yet despite the hurdles, despite the advantages that many of the other schools they compete against enjoy, the Oswego State Ice Effect still won the Eastern Regionals.
The team cites their small number of skaters and their closeness as the key to their success.
“When you’re close with your team, as we are, it becomes so much easier to skate the program as one, because you already anticipate who’s going to do what,” Marko said. “We’re a family.”
“That’s another advantage of being a club team and [kind of] being small, is that we’re not all out to get each other and fight for the top spot,” sophomore Emily Anderson said. “We’re all [kind of] doing it for fun.”