Northfield teen’s figure skating team wins top honors
Many students will begin the school year this fall bringing with them stories worth sharing amongst one another. So will Heidi Weber-Howe, 17, a Northfield resident and a 2016 graduate of New Trier, when she travels to Ohio to attend Miami University.
Weber-Howe and her Chicago Jazz Junior synchronized figure skating teammates took home bragging rights in national and international competitions this past season. She said it’s amazing to have competed overseas and represent her country.
“It’s a really cool experience, especially with seeing teams from all over the country and all over the world.”
In January, the team first traveled to Neuchatel, Switzerland to compete as part of Team U.S.A. They participated in the short program and free skate allowing them to earn the Neuchatel Trophy.
The junior figure skaters then advanced to the Spring Cup held in Milan, Italy, where they clinched the rights to the gold medal.
To cap off the season in March, the team moved onto the Synchronized National Skating Championship in Kalamazoo, Michigan bringing home the gold medal.
Lisa Darken, skating director for Chicago Jazz, said it was exciting to see how the team progressed in both events held at the national skating championship.
“We were second in the first segment of the short program,” she said. “Overall, it was quite exciting—they skated last in the event of 12 teams and our toughest competition did not have a perfect skate, which opened the door for us to skate perfect.”
Darken added the way junior figure skaters performed this season allowed them to reach their dream goal.
Darken said the team’s hard work paid off for them when judges evaluated their performance.
“We had control over how to get those numbers to execute our technical elements so that would get called,” she said. “It would be neat and clean and lined up and musical to receive the highest marks we could. We’re very happy with that jazz.”
Weber-Howe said she and her teammates put in many hours during practices, and is pleased with how the season ended.
“During the season, I skate individually almost everyday for about an hour,” she said. “With my team, we would skate during the week at least three times about 3-4 hours and then we have off-ice training for an hour and ballet for an hour.”
Weber-Howe said she looks forward to trying out for the Miami University figure skating team when tryouts take place this fall.
She added that she plans to study sports management and marketing when she starts attending school there.
“I’ve always been interested in working with sports teams and then I got really involved with business organizations at my school,” she said. “Sports management and marketing is a great combination of things I do inside and outside of school.”
Weber-Howe added that the hope is she’ll find herself coaching ice skaters on an advanced level in the years to come.