Norwich skating team claims regional championship on home ice

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
Norwich - posted Wed., Jun. 29, 2011
Sarah Sanca, of Griswold, ends her freestyle competition with a flourish. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Sarah Sanca, of Griswold, ends her freestyle competition with a flourish. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

The hometown team was the big winner last weekend, as the Norwich Skating School claimed this year’s District 1 New England overall team skating championship on its home ice.

The Norwich Ice Rink played host to more than 300 ice skaters June 23 through 26 for the Ice Skating Institute’s district championships. Among the 19 skating schools from across New England represented at the event, skaters from Norwich Skating School claimed the highest team score of more than 1,600 points. It was the second such championship for the Norwich team in three years.

The event was held this year for the first time in Connecticut, after a number of years on Cape Cod. Competitors performed many forms of skating, including freestyle, artistic and interpretive skating; solo and couples events; rhythmic skating with ribbon, hoop and ball; hockey skating and puck handling; stroking and footwork; synchronized, ensemble and pattern skating and even theatrical productions.

Norwich team manager Minna Sanca said that response from the other schools to the Norwich venue was overwhelmingly positive.

“They’ve said that this was the best-run district championships these schools have ever been to. They were impressed with the facility and impressed with our skaters. They felt welcomed and they said they would definitely come back,” Sanca said.

Staff and parents of the Norwich Skating School, including team managers Theresa Bodinger, Brandi Morrell and Lori Lesko, organized the four days of competition. “The skaters and families stepped up beyond expectations. I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Sanca.

Now the local team is gearing up for its trip to the ISI world competition, held at the end of July in Minneapolis. “We’re sending a team of 25 skaters and 18 families. We’re very excited,” said Sanca.

The emphasis of the ISI is “first and foremost fun,” said Sanca. Competitors work through successive levels of skill, through footwork, edgework and stroking, up to higher and more expressive levels of skating. At each level they compete with skaters of their own age group.

At the Norwich school, there’s also a high emphasis on the group events such as synchronized skating and theatrical productions, Sanca said. “A lot of children and other people do not like to compete by themselves,” she said. “This is the perfect outlet for them.”

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