Championship Gold Ladies Sparkle at U.S. Adult Championships

by Laura Fawcett and Kelly Hodge
Championship gold ladies winner Ninotchka Aschow

Event Results and Photos

(4/14/05) — After eight years away from the “technical” side of skating, Ninotchka Aschow (Santa Rosa FSC) skated her way to the top Thursday night at the 2005 U.S. Adult Championships in Overland Park, Kan. Aschow collected the gold medal in the championship gold ladies event amidst a solid group of skaters.

Aschow has been mainly focusing on the interpretive events, and it showed in her performance. Her musical interpretation stood out in the field, and she covered the ice with speed and skill.

“I was speechless,” Aschow said about finding out she had won gold. “I didn't expect it.”

Her previous experience in freestyle at the U.S. Adult Championships was at the silver level, but for the last eight years she has concentrated on the artistic side of skating.

“I needed a new challenge and a new goal,” said Aschow, 35. “Frankly, I'm not getting any younger and I wanted to see how far I could take it.”

Although she calls herself a “stay-at-home mom,” the mother of two teenaged daughters is active and on the go. She skates five days a week for two hours and also participates in triathlons and marathons. Aschow skated as a youngster, and then took up the sport again as a creative outlet after her children were born.

Her hard work over the years paid off, as she hit a double Salchow, a loop-loop combination and a flip-loop-toe combination out of footwork.

Right behind Aschow was 34-year-old Resa Lee (SC of San Francisco), who has been ice skating for just eight years, competing at the gold level almost the entire time. Lee, a former rollerskater, also showcased speed and overall technical skill. She hit a double Salchow, an Axel-toe-loop combination and had a nice forward outside spiral on both feet. Her spins were also some of the best of the night.

Like most of the competitors, Lee balances a busy career with six days of skating a week — but it's all part of life.

“You work hard to be able to play hard,” she said.

Third place went to Cynthia Crouse (Wagon Wheel FSC), who at 47 was one of the oldest women in the championship gold ladies event — an impressive statistic combined with the fact that she is new at competing. Although she skated recreationally for seven years as a child, she returned to skating less than three years ago after a 30-year absence. That newness meant nerves didn't play much of a part in her experience.

“There was no nervousness,” she said. “I just went out and saw all the other skaters; they're all so beautiful and wonderful. I was just thinking ‘This is the coolest thing.'”

Crouse's niece is partly responsible for her return to the ice. When she (Crouse's niece) wanted to go skating, the family said “Ask Aunt Cindy to take you!”

“When I got there (to the ice rink), I wondered why I ever gave it up,” she said. “It was fabulous, and then I got sucked into the adult skating world.”

Crouse had a good flying camel and hit a Lutz-loop combination and two Axels.

Paula Smart (Los Angeles FSC) landed a flip, loop and had a spread eagle into a Lutz-loop-loop combination to finish fourth overall.

Also underway Thursday was the championship dance competition. Skating to the blues and silver samba, Pacific Coast Sectional champions Julie Keith and Mike Ricigliano took the early lead.

Thursday night results were not yet available as of 11:45 Central time. Check back Friday morning.