By Erika Jarvey
Wayzata High School senior Kelly Eck recently took fifth place with her team in the Switzerland worlds synchronized figure skating competition.
Eck is part of a world known synchronized figure skating team located out of Braemar in Edina. “There are twenty girls on the team and fourteen of us are from different schools,” says Eck. “You could basically call it a dance team on ice.”
Making this prestigious team is no easy matter for any skater. Eck says, “Tryouts started at the beginning of our year which is in May and I had to compete with different members of the team to get a spot.”
This year the team went to sectionals in Colorado where they took first and then automatically got a spot at Nationals in Maine where they also took first. “It’s really cool to see that we took first in the nation,” said Eck. “All our hard work finally paid off.”
Typically the team practices around eight to ten hours a week. In the competitive season this is about four to five times a week says Eck.
Eck who has been figure skating since she was seven has put a lot of time and effort to get where she is today. “I have done the synchronized skating since I was ten and have been competing at a really high level since I was sixteen.” Eck says she found Team Braemar by skating at many different rinks over time.
Before nationals the team also participated in the world qualifying competition which took place in January. “You have to get in the top two in order to move on to worlds,” said Eck. “We got second behind a team from Chicago and so we made it to worlds!”
The synchronized figure skating world competition took place in Switzerland where Eck and her team placed fifth out of twenty different teams from ten different countries. “It was like a mini Olympics,” said Eck. “We were called team USA 2 and actually beat the other United States team who we got second to at the qualifying rounds.”
“One of the best parts about the team and winning is that instead of celebrating individually, I get to share it with a bunch of people,” said Eck. “It was very special for me, the team, and the coaches as well.”
Eck describes the experience of competing in another country. “It was very cool. In the rink all the spectators got to sit with people from all over the world.” Eck says how it was so interesting to communicate with skaters who were from different countries and cultures.
Before the world’s competition the team also had the opportunity to travel and compete in Italy. “This was part of our international assignment that we got from placing in nationals the year before,” said Eck. “It was a competition against twelve other teams and basically a smaller scale of worlds.” The team again will have another international assignment next year from taking first in nationals in 2009.
With all of these amazing opportunities Eck was out of school for about a month. “It was really hard to deal with missing so much,” said Eck. “I probably won’t skate at this level in college because it was plenty hard just during high school.”
With a sections, nationals, and world title under her belt Eck truly has a passion for her sport. “It has been such an amazing journey and is sad to see it end.”