Skating season-figure skating season-is just around the corner for residents of the Ohio Valley. As proof the busy time of year is almost here, details of the annual public meeting hosted by the Wheeling Figure Skating Club were announced recently with the annual meeting set to start at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8 at the Stone Room in Wheeling Park.
The annual gathering is open to the general public as well as to established returning skaters.
Members of the Wheeling Figure Skating Club have long considered the ice sheet at Wheeling Park as their organization's home ice, and club members and supporters are doing all within their reach to get their 46th skating season off to a solid start.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Wheeling Figure Skating Club members from Ohio and West Virginia who were members of the organization's inaugural synchronized skating skills class taught last season by Kim Sailer, formerly of Barnesville, and by Giovanna Loccisano of Yorkville. The skaters, though all new to the team style of skating of the national synchronized program now available locally, performed the technical program with the confidence and energy of veterans.
Dramatic overhead lifts have become trademark components of programs skated by national and world level medalists, the former Barnesville resident Kim Sailer and her teammate, Dave Garber. Sailer started her skating career in Wheeling and greatly enjoys being able to work with local skaters of all disciplines and abilities.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Performing a lunge properly while traveling down ice is something each of these local skaters had done previously to pass a variety of fundamental figure skating skill tests called Basic Skills. The synchronized skating class experience gave them the opportunity to build on those individual skills as they learned to perform them while linked to the skater next to them and while maintaining the integrity of the group in a block formation.
T-L Photo/KIM LOCCISANO
Members of the Wheeling Figure Skating Club successfully perform the advanced skill of forming and maintaining a traveling circle.
Local club member and competitive figure skater, St. Clairsville resident Maddie Saines performed a freestyle solo exhibition program during a break in a Wheeling Nailers hockey game at WesBanco Arena last season. Local figure skaters were invited to take to the ice during breaks in the game.
The on-ice portion of the club schedule for the season will begin Wednesday, Nov. 2 with the first of the weekly evening sessions from 5-7 p.m. The club members will also have ice-time Saturdays from 4:30-7 p.m.
The start of the 2011-2012 skating season marks the start of the 46th season the club has been in operation, offering area residents a window of opportunity to the world of figure skating.
Members of the organization as well as its established coaching staff reside in communities across Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and range in tenure from a charter member of the club to teens who have individually distinguished themselves as skaters through their respective pursuits of national credentialing standards both as skaters and as coaches.
Among its current coaching staff are skaters who hold national, international and world level figure skating championship titles, skaters who have achieved gold medalist standings by meeting rigorous national skill standards, as well as those who have come to the sport through established tenure with the local organization.
The organization's coaching staff is again being led by former Barnesville resident Kim Sailer, a local club member since 1996. She is a successful business owner and operator, competitive world level adult skating championship medalist in pairs competition, and a national champion-singles competitor-in the nation's adult skating community.
She is passionate about her love of the sport, about helping less experienced skaters of all ages and in doing all she can to pass her love of the sport on to others.
"I am looking forward to another year at Wheeling Park," she recently offered "I am half of the team that won the Master Championship Pairs title in 2011. I have tested through the highest levels in adults pairs, adult freestyle, and moves in the field.
"I am a committee member of the national governing body of the United States Figure Skating Association (USFSA). I have completed my Professional Skaters Association continuing education requirements for all coaches."
Her Professional Skaters Association mandatory requirement standing is described as "Category A."
"It classifies me as a professional coach of qualifying-level, competition skaters at U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned events," Sailer offered, noting she has also coached students on sectional and national levels. "And I happily teach basic skills, freestyle, pairs, moves in the field, and ice dancing at Wheeling. I also coach at the Iceoplex and RMU Island Sports Center."
The recently enacted continuing education class standards provide a key which can now easily be shared by coaches as a clear measurement of their professional and personal skating and skating related skills when weighed against a national standard.
Former Bellaire resident April Siebieda is also continuing her association with the Wheeling Figure Skating Club as a part of their professional coaching team.
Siebieda skated for six years as a junior member of the club and another six as an adult member before earning credentials to serve as a basic skills program test judge in 2001.
Yorkville resident Giovanna Loccisano is also returning as a coach and assistant to the ice in Wheeling, where she began her skating experience. Joining the local club at age five, she is now a member of the junior class at The Linsly School. Loccisano was a three-year member of the Pittsburgh-based competitive synchronized figure skating team, The Steel City Blades.
A national gold medalist in the figure skating discipline known as field moves, Loccisano is a gold medal level ice dancer and has volunteered as an assistant in previous skating seasons serving largely to supplement the basic skills class coaching needs for the Wheeling club.
Last year she was asked to assist Sailer with the club's first effort to introduce a basic synchronized skating class for area skaters. This year Loccisano was invited to lead the class as the local organization continues efforts to expand opportunities for skaters to build on skills they have already worked to acquire while providing additional opportunities to enjoy fun and friendship of working with other local skaters on a common goal.
She will also be assisting with the club's basic skills classes.
Teams across Ohio have a long and distinguished legacy of supporting synchronized figure skating programs, noted Sailer, explaining it had initially been introduced some years ago to skaters nationwide as precision skating.
"Synchronized skating opportunities are a great way for figure skaters of all ages and abilities to renew or expand their passion for the sport while experiencing it in a way they may never have dreamed possible before the local club decided to offer this elective class. Being part of a figure skating team is about enjoying your chosen sport and enjoying the rare opportunity as a figure skater to be part of a team effort involving a group of skaters.
Pennsylvania resident Alyssa Broderick is also a returning member of the club's coaching team and is also serving as the organization in other ways.
"I am excited to start this season as the WFSC president, USFSA test chair, and WFSC basic skills test judge. This is my 7th season with the local club," offered Broderick, a 2007 graduate of West Liberty University, with bachelor's degrees in health education and physical education.
"I have completed my Professional Skaters Association continuing education requirements for Category B, classifying me as a professional coach of skaters participating at U.S. Figure Skating non-qualifying events and test sessions. I enjoy teaching basic skills, and beginning moves in the field and freestyle. I also coach at the Iceoplex at Cannonsburg and Blade Runners in Bethel."
Completing the club coaching roster is WFSC charter member Janet Bole of Wheeling. She brings more than 31 years as an instructor to the organization and has long been coordinator of the club's basic skills class programs. She also has similar duties at the Iceoplex in Cannonsburg.
Sailer, Siebieda, Broderick, and Bole also bring a wealth of experience from varied levels of involvement with the local club's many Symphony on Ice productions.
Information about The Wheeling Figure Skating club organization and membership are available on Facebook, at the Oct. 8 meeting or by contacting the office at Wheeling Park.