Dartmouth figure skaters ice season opener in Ithaca

by Peter Anderson | 11/18/05 6:00am

In a weekend filled with Big Green sports victories, the Dartmouth figure skating team continued the trend as well as its undefeated streak with an impressive win at the Cornell Invitational in Ithaca, N.Y., this past Saturday. Dartmouth finished a dominating 15 points ahead of second place Delaware and over 40 points ahead of host Cornell.

This victory is even more significant as Delaware is considered to be a top-three team in the nation. With such an excellent performance against a highly regarded team so early in the year, the Big Green skaters have once again solidified themselves as a national powerhouse for the 2005-06 season.

First-place awards were earned by Taylor Grant '06, Holly Ponichtera '07, Hallie Damon '08, Lauren Morgan '05, Tegan Vay '07 and Sarah Zimbler '09.

With winners coming from each of the team's four classes, Dartmouth's depth this year is possibly the strongest it has ever been.

With this victory in its first Eastern qualifying competition of the 2005-06 season, the Big Green skaters seem primed to defend their two consecutive National Championship titles from 2004 and 2005.

Unlike past competitions, Delaware led the opposition throughout much of the afternoon and into the evening. It was only thanks to a spirited come-from-behind effort that the veteran-filled Dartmouth team was able to pull out the win and preserve their sparkling record.

Coaches J.Michael McGean '49 and Loren McGean '92 were especially impressed with the way their older skaters stepped up to the new challenges that this season has presented them. Team co-captain Taylor Grant '06 completed two triple jumps at the Cornell competition and has increased the difficulty of her free skating programs in hopes of raising up the team's final point scale as she begins her final undergraduate season on Dartmouth's figure skating team.

Taylor was the top collegiate skater in 2003-04, and has also been distinguished as a Dartmouth Wearer of the Green, joined by teammate and ice dance specialist Katie Collins '06.

As usual, Dartmouth's depth overwhelmed the competition with 12 skaters contributing points to the final score. Along with the individual winners, other Dartmouth skaters who contributed to the final score included team co-captain Katherine Kalaris '07, Dan Dittrick '08, Cynthia Chen 'GS, Severina Ostrovsky '07, Kate Schmidt '09 and Rachel Feder '09.

Dartmouth also won the Low and High Maneuver events and placed second in the Intermediate Maneuvers. With points awarded for places first through fifth, the color of the day on the podium was overwhelmingly green.

Dartmouth's next Eastern qualifying competition will be held at Boston University on Feb. 11 and 12, giving the skaters the holiday season to prepare for the next step towards an unprecedented third consecutive championship.