The Juneau Skating Club traveled to San Jose in late February, beating more than a dozen larger, more local teams to place second in the Ice Sports Industry 2022 Winter Classic in San Jose, California.
As part of the larger JSC team, Team Forget-Me-Not, the JSC’s youth synchronized skating team, placed first in their event.
“We had 26 skaters in 86 events. All the points added up so we were second in total points,” said the Forget-Me-Nots manager Nicchia Leamer in a phone interview. “That makes it really impressive since we were coming from Alaska.”
Eighteen teams competed in the tournament across hundreds of different events. Skaters would compete in several events a day, getting limited sleep that night before getting back on the ice, Leamer said.
“Some of the kids are doing five or six events,” Leamer said. “They could get stacked in one day. It can be exhausting.”
Team Forget-Me-Not participated in another travel competition recently, which helped them prepare for this tournament, Leamer said.
“For Team Forget-Me-Not, they got a lot of confidence coming out of November’s competition,” Leamer said. “They pulled it together and skated beautifully.”
The team had to adjust its formation for an injured skater, said Pam Leary, a member of the JSC who attended the competition.
“Everybody is skating very close together. They do these meshes that are blind and you don’t know if you’re going to back into somebody,” Leary said in a phone interview. “You have to rely on your team members to know the changes that are being made and follow.”
For other members of the JSC, this was their first travel competition, Leary said.
“A lot of the skaters that came with us, this was their first competition. It was really eye opening to see how big skating could be,” Leary said. “It’s so exciting to see that and all the team stuff when you’re at a competition.”
Leary said she was taken aback by the number of skaters who turned up.
“There was an 85-year-old man who was the oldest skater. He was amazing,” Leamer said. “And the youngest skater was 2. There was a huge variety of people who were skating and just loving it.”
The JSC will have a show at the Treadwell Arena at the beginning of April, Leamer said, with tickets available at juneauskatingclub.org.
“Our goal is to teach skating and life skills to children,” Leary said. “Our goal is that they become good citizens; there’s a lot of good life lessons in skating.”