Staff report

Hudson resident Erica Steinel, 17, a senior at Walsh Jesuit High School, is a member of a synchronized figure skating team named the Ice Diamonds.

Eighteen of the best teams in their region competed at the Midwest and Pacific Coast Synchronized Sectional Championship Jan. 25 at the Sears Center in Chicago.

Teams from Ohio, North Dakota, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas and Missouri participated.

The Ice Diamonds earned the bronze medal, giving them a qualifying spot at the U.S. National Championship Feb. 24 at the Colorado Springs Ice Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Synchronized skating on Steinel's level is a team sport that features a minimum of 12 skaters who perform a musical program for a panel of judges.

The judging system is the same system as singles, pairs and ice dance. Synchronized skating is sanctioned by the United States Figure Skating Club.

The Ice Diamonds are made up of 10 ladies from Northeast Ohio, one from Erie, Pa., and one male skater from Mentor.

They compete at the intermediate level where the skaters are age 18 and younger.

The Ice Diamonds perform to a medley of songs from the "Gatsby" movie lasting approximately 3 minutes, 40 seconds.

Their routine varies between high energy and speed to slower precise moves dependent on the tempo of the music.

They form rotating circles and lines and perform spins inches away from the skaters next to them.

Steinel began skating at Kent State University as a member of the Kent Skate Club at age 5.

She has competed as an individual since she was 6 and has worked her way up to the junior level -- one level below the Senior skaters in the Olympics.

She is coached in ice dancing and individual Freestyle at Winterhurst Ice Arena In Lakewood.

The Ice Diamonds are based at the Mentor Civic Center Ice Arena, where the coaches have the team doing additional conditioning to prepare the skater for the Colorado Springs altitude of more than 6,000 feet above sea level.

Steinel plans to attend Miami University in Oxford next fall where she hopes to someday compete at the collegiate level.


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