DENVER--Adrian College's intercollegiate figure skating team earned 91 points for a repeat bronze-medal finish at the 2018 U.S. Intercollegiate Figure Skating Team Championships hosted by the University of Denver for the three days ending Sunday.
This year's bronze-medal finish is especially significant, as US Figure Skating increased its national invitations to the top four teams in each section (previously three), making the competitive pool at nationals notably deeper.
"No one had any idea how the increased size of the event would affect the overall national standings," explained Bulldogs Director of Skating Ashley Carlson, who is in her seventh season at the helm. "All we could to do to strategize was make sure every team member maxed out their training and entered each event confident in their ability to win."
Six Bulldogs earned individual national titles in eight events: sophomore Jill Westerbur (Intermediate Dance), freshman Ceci Picard (Pre-Preliminary Freeskate), freshman Amy Czuhajewski (Intermediate Short Program), junior Macauley Lukenda (Novice Short Program), senior Megan Sauer (Junior Freeskate), and junior Nikki Czuhajewski (Junior Short Program, Junior Championship Freeskate, and Senior Dance).
Overall, Boston University earned top honors with 111 points, followed by Delaware (98), Adrian (91), Miami-Ohio (40.5), Dartmouth (38), California-Berkley (34), UCLA (27), Washington-St. Louis (21), Denver (21), UC-San Diego (19), Michigan (16.5) and Sacred Heart (6).
"It was a truly thrilling race among the top three teams," described second-year Adrian head coach Tricia DeFelice. "We are walking away with more individual national titles and top three finishes than ever before. I am so proud of this team's unmatched efforts in training and the remarkable outcomes in competition this season."
Individual medals were earned in the following events: Novice Dance (Westerbur), Junior Dance (freshman Rachel Kraber), Senior Dance (freshman Amy Czuhajewski), Junior Short Program (sophomore Casey Labrenz), Preliminary Freeskate (junior Sarah Bittorf), Juvenile Freeskate (senior Ciara Athy), Intermediate Freeskate (Amy Czuhajewski), Novice Freeskate (junior Olivia Margulis), Senior Freeskate (senior Lila Werner), and High Team Maneuver (Nikki Czuhajewski, Labrenz, and Lila Werner).
"It is a total honor to be a part of this skating family," said Nikki Czuhajewski. "To now have my sister, Amy, join me as a Bulldog makes it even more special because we get to continue our strong bond by cheering each other on in triumphs and encouraging each other through struggles."
Tryouts for the 2018-19 Adrian team were held on Friday, March 23, and the roster has been set by the coaching staff. The Bulldogs are still seeking applicants with a competitive double axel and/or triple jumps to Adrian College and the varsity skating team. Leadership for next season will be spearheaded by rising seniors Margulis and Nikki Czuhajewski, and rising junior Labrenz.
The Bulldogs led Boston University by one point after Friday's overall competition.
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