After competing in high-level figure skating competitions from Alabama to Michigan, Hope Manley and her Lincoln Center Skate Club teammates will be on their home ice this weekend.
LCSC is hosting the Indiana Figure Skating Championships at Hamilton Center Ice Arena for the first time since 2006. Competition will be from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Manley, a junior at Columbus North High School, is coming off a 10th-place finish in the Eastern Great Lakes Regional USFSA Competition in Fort Wayne. She also recently competed in the National Showcase Competition and the National Solo Dance Series Finals, both in Michigan.
“It’s been a while,” Manley said as she took a break from spinning, jumping and twisting on the ice earlier this week. “It’s always cool to skate here rather than somewhere else. I usually have to go other places.”
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Although she has won state events before, Manley will be competing in the Junior division for the first time this weekend. Other top-level skaters from LCSC include Kasey Wilhoit, Mackenzie Geckler, Sydney Geckler, Aysa Streeval, Taylor Manley, Lacie Holle and Claudia Lee.
Those skaters are among the about 50 from LCSC that will take the ice. A total of 143 competitors from the state’s nine clubs are entered.
Besides the free-skating programs, spins, jumps and ice dancing, the Indiana Figure Skating Championships will feature skills competitions for younger kids that are in the Parks and Rec program. Those kids will skate 1-minute programs with elements they’re working on such as one-foot glides or backwards skating.
Lincoln Center and Carmel typically battle for the team title, and this year will likely be no different.
“I think our kids are pretty well prepared and well trained, and we have a lot of them competing, so that definitely helps our chances,” said Jenni Cashen, one of the team’s coaches.
Cashen competed in 1983, when Lincoln Center hosted the Indiana Figure Skating Championships for the first of four times. She coaches the team, along with Liz Fernandes and skating director Katie Baxter.
Faith Thomas, president of Lincoln Center Figure Skating Club, is expecting about 900 to 1,000 people to watch this weekend’s competition. Admission is free.
“It’s exciting,” Thomas said. “It’s a great way to come and see skaters who are putting in tons and tons of hours of practice. It is a year-round sport, so these are girls who are very dedicated to the sport.”
What: Indiana Figure Skating Championships
When: 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday
Where: Hamilton Center Ice Arena