Since the start of their season in early November, the members of the North Park Skating Team and their coaches have been hard at work despite blustery conditions, rain, snow and wind all in preparation for this weekend’s All American Challenge Cup, the team’s first Ice Skating Institute (ISI) competition of the year.
The All American Challenge Cup is hosted by the Skating Club of Greater Youngstown as a part of the ISI District 7 Championship Series. This year’s competition is expected to draw more than 195 recreational ice skaters from 16 ISI ice arenas in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the North Park Ice Skating Rink where North Park Skating Team members call home between November and March. Of the seven Pittsburgh-based rinks, the North Park Ice Skating Rink boasts the most competitors at this year’s competition: 21 in all ranging in age from seven-years-old to 17-years-old. They are Emily Adamczyk, Alaina Barth, Natalie Constantakis, Elena Dysert, Cameron Fazio, Emma Holtz, Caroline Kasunich, Madeline Kasunich, Jenna Latuszewski, Lauren Latuszewski, Kaitlyn Leininger, Jennifer Lott, Jessica Lott, Alexandria Polanosky, Rachel Scherer, Jessie Serody, Katie Serody, Melina Stratigos, Abbey Todd, Lauren Turner and Lindsay Turner. Over the course of this two-day competition, these 21 skaters will compete in an impressive 83 individual events, including stroking, artistic, freestyle and open freestyle, solo and couples spotlight, jump and spin, interpretative and compulsory.
To prepare for this season’s competitions, these 23 team members have put in nearly 50 hours on the ice, practicing every Saturday morning from 7-10:30 a.m. during the team’s freestyle session under the direction of North Park Skating Team coaches Joseph Eisner, Allison Martorelli, Megan Sudsina, Jessica Wasik, Amy Weixel and Stephanie Zukowski. Each team member also participates in the rink’s paid group skating lessons held Tuesday and Thursday evenings and many put in extra hours on the ice at the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center, BladeRunners and the Ice Connection of Pittsburgh in addition to assisting with the North Park Ice Skating Rink’s free group lessons that are offered Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.
While each team member is striving for their personal best skate, they are also a real-life example of the team’s motto for this year: “Whatever we accomplish belongs to our entire group, a tribute to our combined effort.” This Walt Disney quote was chosen by the team’s coaches who had it printed on t-shirts and gifted to the skaters during the team’s Christmas party this past December to remind their skaters of the importance of working together and representing the North Park Skating Team with pride and with good sportsmanship.
This weekend’s All American Challenge Cup is the first of the team’s many upcoming ISI competitions on this year’s schedule. Up next: the ISI Winter Classic scheduled for Feb. 8-10 at the Goggin Ice Center in Oxford, Ohio. The Robert Morris University Island Sports Center’s Shamrock Skate in March and competitions at Center Ice Arena and Johnstown’s Planet Ice in April round out the team’s competitions for the year.
For more information on the North Park Skating Team, contact North Park Skating Team director Nancy Sudsina at firstname.lastname@example.org.