WHEELING - Got ice?
As of today: yes!
Wheeling Figure Skating Club members have been patiently waiting for their first opportunity to take to the ice at the popular Wheeling Park Memorial Ice Rink officially kicking-off the organization's 47th season, and at 4:30 p.m. today the wait will be over as the first group skating will begin.
WHEELING?SKATER?Ben Dilliplane works through a spiral move during a recent performance.
As has been the case over the past few years, WFSC's members have looked for ways to grow and strengthen its program offerings and this season's slate of activities is meant to continue that effort with new opportunities for skaters of all skill levels.
The first class session of the new season is a "Snowplow Sam" group lesson which will be held from 4:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays in November and December. The seven-week class is open to children from 3 to 5 years old; with class size being limited to 15 children per each of the two seven-week series planned for this winter through WFSC.
Specific dates for the two "Snowplow Sam" class series are: Nov. 3 - Dec. 22 and Jan. 12 - Feb. 23. Both series classes will be held from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Youngsters are welcome to register for the series on an ongoing basis within the 3 - 5 year old age bracket.
At age five, parents can choose to register a "Snowplow Sam" alum as a full skating member of the Wheeling Figure Skating, an opening that has traditionally been held to children who are age 5 by Nov. 1 of that specific skating season, according to Alyssa Curry-Broderick , president of WFSC.
Curry-Broderick is not only president of the local skating club but is also an experienced skating coach who is part of the WFSC staff of highly qualified senior and junior figure skating coaches. She has been the driving force behind bringing the professionally designed and nationally available "Snowplow Sam" classes to the local area thru organization.
Unique to this class is the freedom parents can enjoy of having their beginning skaters take to the ice wearing either figure skates or hockey skates, which if needed are available at the rink through the park's rental service. Wearing a helmet and gloves during this class is mandatory. Cost for this class is $100 per nearly
Unlike any other class offered by the club, this is open to the general public and does not require the larger commitment as do most other opportunities available through WFSC.
The essentials basic skills which are shared across the three levels within Snowplow Sam include: how to sit and stand up with skates off-ice initially; marching in place and then moving forward a few steps; gliding on both feet; backward wiggles; rocking forward and then backward; forward skating; forward gliding on one foot; how to do a snowplow stop with a skid; and how to begin moving on a curve across the ice surface and more.
"These are all skills that will help young skaters develop preliminary coordination and strength allowing them to gain the confidence to learn they are capable of maneuvering on ice," offered Curry-Broderick.
The classes are designed to involve only encouragement and support for the youngsters as they literally begin to find their feet in their initial experiences on skates.
The WFSC 2012 -13 season's classes for its members age five and above who have acquired a set of basic skills they can execute with some consistency will again have the opportunity to step into a unique team skating class experience: synchronized skating.
"Three years ago, an introduction to the hugely popular skating discipline of Synchronized Skating was added. It was so well received it has become a standard part of WFSC's annual slate of classes available to its membership," explained former Barnesville resident, a national and world level champion competitive adult level skater and veteran WFSC coach Kim Sailer.
Sailer and the other coaches at the local skating club bring a wealth of top level skating instruction and expertise from across many of the disciplines of figure skating, with some new and also familiar faces stepping onto the local ice as group and private skating skills coaches.
Sailer, is herself a national and international adult figure skating champion with medals from both individual efforts and as a part of a Master Championship pairs title team with their latest victory having been earned in the most recent competitive season. Her gold level credentials have been earned in the areas of Adult Pairs, Adult Free Skate, and Moves in the Field. Most recently she has been actively pursuing gold level credentials in ice dancing. She is a committee member with United States Figure Skating. She has coached students at the Sectional and National Levels. She is well known for her exceptional efforts as a skating performer, choreographer and organizer for the many "Symphony On Ice" shows enjoyed over the 12 year run of the unique annual holiday extravaganza staged at Wesbanco with participation by invitation of international and national skating legends, the full complement of the Wheeling symphony Orchestra, and a large youth chorus. She is a past president of WFSC. She has completed national professional continuing education requirements needed in order to be allowed to take skaters to USFSA tests and qualifying events: (Category A). She teaches basic skills, freestyle, pairs, moves in the field, and dance. In addition to her coaching efforts with WFSC she coaches skaters at the Iceoplex at Southpointe in Cannonsburg and at Robert Morris University Island Sports complex at Neville Island, Pittsburgh.
Curry-Broderick is beginning her eighth year with the organization. Her professional work with the local skating club has included serving as a choreographer for a number of "Symphony on Ice" holiday productions as well as for annual club exhibitions and other special events. Her professional continuing education credential standing is Category A, which allows her to coach skaters preparing to test against national standards set by the USFS, and those planning to compete in non-qualifying events.
Carolyn Ream is returning to the club's coaching slate. She is well known to area skaters of all levels through her many successes realized over nearly a decade of work with local club skaters as a choreographer and coach preparing local amateur skaters of all levels to perform in the highly celebrated "Symphony on Ice". Carolyn's signature piece for the production, the stunning 'Silent Night' was performed by the local club's skaters - including the youngest of them - on an ice surface illuminated solely by the handheld candles they carried on and off the ice themselves while skating.
Carolyn has a long standing affiliation with the local club having previously been a member of the coaching staff, and more recently being called on to serve as a Basic Skills test judge. In addition to continuing her Friday afternoon skating lessons, Carolyn is also helping coach the WFSC's Basic Skills and Snowplow Sam programs.
Scott Shelton, a native of Detroit, is beginning his second year of membership with the WFSC, and his first season as a member of the local club's coaching roster. He is due to graduate from medical school in May, having connected to the WFSC after coming to the local area as part of his ongoing medical education. His competitive figure skating career included single and pairs events. He brings a decade of pairs team competition experience to the Wheeling ice. Highlights of that aspect of his pairs career include participating in the 2000 Nationals in Junior Pairs and having been invited to compete in the 2001 Nationals in Junior Pairs. His competitive career included competing at the regional and sectional levels in Junior Mens Freestyle and later in Senior Mens Freestyle at Sectionals earning an alternate's assignment to Nationals. In addition to his career as a competitive skater, Scott brings to the local club more than a decade of Learn to Skate group program coaching experience and several years work as an individual coach for freestyle and dance students while a member of the Detroit Skating Club. His personal test history levels include a first figure test, the Pre-Silver Dances, Junior Pairs, Senior Moves in the Field and the Senior Freestyle test.
Yorkville resident Giovanna Loccisano, a two-time national gold medalist is also returning as a coach and assistant for the local club for a fourth year and to membership in the organization. She began her skating career at age five with membership in WFSC.
Loccisano was a three-year member of the Pittsburgh based competitive synchronized figure skating team, The Steel City Blades and will again lead the club's synchronized class program. She has continued to attend annual camps at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, which is home to one of the most successful multi-team synchronized skating programs in the nation, and which fielded the first synchronized skating team from the U.S. to earn a top team medal at the sport's world championships.
Also this year the local figure skating club's members will be seen at various times taking to the ice to perform exhibition programs for fans at the Wheeling Nailers hockey games, a practice which began two years ago when St. Clairsville based WFSC member Maddie Saines skated a freestyle program after the club's first synchronized skating class performed the first synchro program seen by the public in this area.
Already this season several skaters with ties to WFSC have begun that tradition: Yorkville area resident Loccisano was the first skater of the season on Nailer ice. Performing at Thursday's game were Yorkville area resident Megan Kirkpatrick and Wheeling based skater Ben Dilliplane.
The club is also making a blanket invitation to anyone in the public who thinks they might like to try figure skating but are unsure about it in the long run by offering a one-time free of charge, "try it - you might like it" window which will extend through Nov. 10.
Additional information is available by contacting Wheeling Figure Skating Club on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wheelingskatingclub, or by contacting club officer Kim Loccisano at firstname.lastname@example.org