Collegiate figure skaters at Sacred Heart University earned the program's first-ever trip to the U.S. Figure Skating Intercollegiate Nationals this year.
Over the last decade, collegiate skating has become an option for competitive figure skaters across the country who are looking to continue their passion while preparing for a future off the ice.
"I was just really excited that I could keep skating and I wouldn’t go to a school that didn’t have a rink,” said Sacred Heart freshman Juliet Melotto.
Sacred Heart’s figure skaters have taken the future of their program into their own hands.
"The beautiful thing about collegiate skating for me is these girls are skating for all the right reasons,” said Sacred Heart’s coach Lisa Fedick. “They're not doing it for their parents, they're not doing it for their coaches, They're doing it because they love it."
And this team, which Fedick said has grown from three skaters to 15 in seven seasons, is making program history. They earned a trip to nationals after beating UConn in a tiebreaker in the last qualifying competition of the year.
They love competition, but there's something else they love even more.
"Before collegiate skating you go to these competitions and you're in it on your own,” said junior Sarah Kleinman. “You're skating on your own, you get there on your own, you're competing on your own, but when you're collegiate, it's a team."
The Pioneers placed 12th at this weekend’s nationals in Denver.