Elizabeth Floriani Wins Championship Masters Ladies Titlesby Laura Fawcett
|Championship masters ladies winner Elizabeth Floriani cheers on another skater.|
(4/17/05) - A bargain between two friends has turned into two gold medals in two years for Elizabeth Floriani of the All Year Figure Skating Club. After winning the masters senior ladies title last year, Floriani stepped up and grabbed gold in the championship masters ladies event Saturday at the 2005 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships. The championship masters ladies closed out the four-day event.
After 11 years off the ice, the attorney/part-time skating coach made a deal with a coaching friend to start skating and compete at the U.S. Adult Championships in 2004. Both competed last year, and Floriani decided to keep going. It turned out to be a good decision as her great jumping ability and mature presentation led her to the title. With a double loop, double Salchow-double toe competition and a great layback, Floriani only had one regret: missing the double Axel.
"I wish I would have landed that," she said. "I didn't miss one all week."
Nedda Soltani, who also works with U.S. Team member Nicholas LaRoche, coaches Floriani.
"I like to say I have a Team USA coach," Floriani laughed. "Nick (LaRoche) even text-messaged us today, telling me to 'Go for it!'"
Floriani, 34, passed her gold figures and senior free skate tests as a teenager and competed in the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships. She also won bronze at the U.S. Collegiate Championships in the early 90s. She only recently learned about adult competitions, and when she returned last year, she competed in the masters senior level.
"I didn't understand all the levels at the time," she said. "After winning I learned about the championships masters division and that it was the more coveted title."
Floriani won in a tough competition that had the atmosphere of the senior ladies free skate at the U.S. Championships. It was standing room only at Pepsi Ice Midwest as skater after skater performed well under the pressure.
Individual member Dianna-Lynne Wells won the silver, opening with a gorgeous flying camel followed by a back spiral. After landing a double Lutz-double loop combination, she opened up with a huge smile that lit up her face. She added a double flip, double loop and double Salchow in her program. Like Floriani, Wells excited the audience, and the roar when she finished was deafening.
Third place went to Jill Antipas (Rochester FSC), who collected three medals during the week, including two golds.
Antipas was just about flawless, landing five double jumps, including an awesome double Salchow-double toe combination at the very end of her program. She showed off circular footwork in both directions and a wally-mazurka-mazurka-double toe sequence.
Antipas has been competing as an adult for eight years, but it's not the medals she's after.
"I come here for the people; to see friends," she said. "The camaraderie is so amazing."
She had no words to describe the feeling she had the end of her program, with the crowd leaping up for a standing ovation.
"All I wanted to do was show that I belonged in that group," she said.
Amy Entwistle (Central Carolina SC) won the pewter medal. She hit two double Lutzes (one in combination) and a double flip-half loop-double toe combination.
Julie Keith and Mike Ricigliano (St. Moritz ISC) won their third championship masters dance title skating to music by Louis Prima. Highlights included a three-position lift and a good straightline footwork sequence.
Both Keith and Ricigliano said that winning never gets old.
"It gets better every year," Keith said. "This was one of the best. We feel like we're improving, and it's good to show that even though we're adults we can still improve."
"We have more fun now," Ricigliano said. "We don't have to worry so much about just the skating anymore."
Second place went to Marie Whittemore-Stroukoff (SC of Phoenix) and Eric Walden (Coyotes SC of Arizona), who skate together just once a week for 90 minutes. Mara Schmittinger (Bay Country FSC) and Richard Carinci (University of Delaware FSC) won bronze, followed by Molly Johnson and Kianoosh Samii (St. Moritz ISC) with the pewter.
Alexis Foy contributed to this article.