MACOMB, Mich. – Adrian College's intercollegiate skating team earned 153 points for a record-breaking first-place finish at the 2015-16 Grizzfest competition hosted by Oakland University on Saturday and Sunday. The Bulldogs' previous best team score was 134 points in 2014 at Skate-On-Wisconsin, hosted by University of Wisconsin.
Grizzfest is the first in a series of three Midwestern qualifying competitions. The top three teams from each section--Midwestern, Eastern and Pacific Coast--will earn a bid to compete at the 2016 U.S. Intercollegiate Team Skating Championships hosted by the University of Delaware in April.
Adrian entered the 2015-16 season as three-time reigning Midwestern Champions ('13, '14, and '15) and fifth-place finishers at the 2015 U.S. Intercollegiate Team Skating Championships. The Bulldogs have a roster of 22 team members--only four of which are seniors.
"This season is very emotional for the seniors. At the end of my freeskate, it really hit me that graduation is just around the corner," said tri-captain Tricia DeFelice '16. "I looked up into the stands at my teammates and family, and felt so proud of everything we have accomplished as a team in such a short time."
With Sunday's victory, Adrian College has won nine consecutive Midwestern competitions.
The highlight of the competition was a first-place finish in the following events: Intermediate Short (Jenna Blackburn), Novice Short (Olivia Margulis), Junior Short (Nikki Czuhajewski), Senior Short (Tricia DeFelice), Preliminary Freeskate (Maddie Sena), Pre-Juvenile Freeskate (Barbara Hipp), Juvenile Freeskate (Ciara Athy), Intermediate Freeskate (Jenna Blackburn), Novice Freeskate A (Macauley Lukenda), Novice Freeskate B (Olivia Margulis), Junior Championship (Nikki Czuajewski), Senior Championship (Tricia DeFelice), Pre-Juvenile Dance (Raynise Mancha), Intermediate Dance (Taylor Holz), Junior Dance (Nikki Czuhajewski), Gold Dance (Kara Klomparens), Low Team Maneuver, and High Team Maneuver.
The Bulldogs also had top-three finishes in: Novice Short (Macauley Lukenda), Junior Short (Megan Sauer), Junior Championship (Megan Sauer, India Johnson), Senior (Lila Werner), Novice Dance (Kristina Saeli), Senior Dance (Nikki Czuhajewski, Maddie Sena), Gold Dance A (India Johnson), Gold Dance B (Tricia DeFelice), and International Dance (Tricia DeFelice, Jenna Blackburn).
The Bulldogs earned at least one medal in every event.
The highest point earners for the team were DeFelice (22), Nikki Czuhajewski (21), Jenna Blackburn (15), and India Johnson (14).
"I had some of my best skates ever at this competition," Czuhajewski, a first-year team member, explained. "I had so much confidence from my teammates, who support me every step of the way. I love being a member of this team."
The Bulldogs bested Michigan (74), Miami-Ohio (58), Wisconsin (53), Northern Michigan (36), Ohio State (34), Minnesota-Duluth (28), Oakland (18), Michigan State (17), Indiana (14), Youngstown State (9), Bowling Green (9), Ferris State (8) and Notre Dame (2).
The second leg of the Midwestern regionals is the 2016 Hoosier Challenge on February 20-21, hosted by Indiana University at Hamilton Center Ice Arena in Columbus, Ind.
(Photo Credit: Nikki Czuhajewski '19)