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Huskies News · Blue Water United aims for tournament

Reprinted from a February 19, 2013 article written by Paul Costanzo in The Times Herald

Randi Jakubiak wanted more girls in the Blue Water Area to have a chance to experience figure skating in high school. To do so, the Port Huron Combined figure skating team added Marysville, St. Clair and Croswell-Lexington as schools that could have skaters join the team. That resulted in a name change to Blue Water United, and it also may bring a trip to the state finals.

“I think it’s helped us a lot,” said Erin Weber, a four-year member of the team and senior at Port Huron Northern. “We’ve gained a ton of really strong and well-rounded skaters. That’s definitely helped us.”

The team will compete Saturday at Alpena in the final meet of the regular season for District 5. The Blue Water A team sits in third place heading into the meet, while the B team is second.

The top three teams from each district advance to the state finals March 23 in Farmington Hills. The postseason is sponsored by the Detroit Metro Skating Council rather than the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

“I think we really have a good chance of medaling at states,” Jakubiak said. “We have a strong team this year (with) a lot of skaters who have great abilities. And they’re really versatile.”

High school skating does not include full programs such as those seen during the Olympics.
Instead, skaters perform one element at a time in three different disciplines — jumps, moves and spins.

The format is a bit different than the one used for club teams.

“It’s a lot of fun, but it’s kind of weird for me because I’m so used to singles,” Marysville junior Jessica Schilkey said. “It’s really different because it’s not a program; it’s just elements. It’s a little bit hard, because you’re standing and waiting, and you’re not as warm.”

Emily Hawks, a junior at Northern, has competed with the Port Huron Figure Skating Club. She also is getting acclimated to the new format.

“It makes us be able to focus more on each element that we’re doing,” she said. “So we have a lot of time to make sure they’re all perfect.”

The A and B teams are based off the levels a skater has completed in each discipline. Weber, for example, is on the A team for moves, but on the B team for jumps and spins.

A or B, skaters with Blue Water United share a common goal: getting the whole team to the state meet.

“We’re all a team, and we all want to help each other out in getting to where we are now,” Schilkey said. “It’s a lot of fun — and a lot of hard work.”

Erin Weber, a student at Northern High, practices with Blue Water United, which draws skaters from five local high schools.