Aschow Wins Her Second Championship Gold Ladies Title

by Troy Schwindt
Ninotchka Aschow
Photo by Quick Silver Shots

2007 U.S. Adult Championships Results and Photos

(4/14/07) - For Ninotchka Aschow (Santa Rosa FSC), competing at the 2007 U.S. Adult Championships in Bensenville, Ill., was as much of a thrill as winning the championship gold ladies medal.

Aschow, a tall, elegant skater with wonderful ice presence, captured the 12-woman field on Saturday afternoon thanks to her well-rounded repertoire of jumps, spins and footwork.

She won handily with a score of 39.71. Cindy Crouse (Wagon Wheel FSC) captured the silver medal with a mark of 35.41, while Heather Hilgar (University of Delaware FSC) secured the bronze with a score of 34.79. Lauren Day (All Year FSC) placed fourth with a score of 34.35.

“I feel great, it was fantastic, I loved every single minute,” said Aschow, who is coached by Friday night's championship gold pairs winner Choeleen Loundagin. “I just kept thinking how awesome I felt, how much fun it is and it's where I feel the most joy.”

Aschow has been skating for 27 years, and this is her fourth U.S. Adult Championships. In 2006, she placed third and in 2005 Aschow finished first.

Crouse's performance to “El Dorado” by ELO started with a glitch due to a technical problem on the judges' stand, but she regrouped and by the end of her program had the entire crowd cheering for her.

“I had to pinch myself, they're letting me do it again,” said Crouse, who will be 50 next month. “I was very happy with my skate because I injured myself on Tuesday ,and I didn't think I could skate. I was just happy to be on the ice and to skate, and be with all those beautiful champion gold skaters.”

Hilgar, a first-grade teacher in Wilmington, Del., executed an entertaining program that featured an Axel and a flying back sit spin.

“I'll take my medal into school and show [my students] them,” said Hilgar, who skated to Michael W. Smith's music “Prayer for Taylor.” “They'll be excited to see it.”

Hilgar has competed at the U.S. Adult Championships for eight years, but this is her first year at the championship gold level.

When she's not skating or teaching school, Hilgar does pet therapy. She's currently working with a 16-year-old chihuahua with three teeth.

Day entered this week with a goal of earning the first level four spiral sequence at the U.S. Adult Championships. Mission accomplished.

“My goal was to show the world that adults can do difficult elements, so I wanted to get the first level four called at adult nationals, and I did it,” Day said. “It was a level four spiral sequence, and I got it called in the gold III qualifying round, which was the second event of the entire competition.”

What happened in the championship gold round, she said, was “icing on the cake.”

“That's why I wasn't nervous and I was able to skate just a nice program, and thank everyone who has supported me, and just enjoy it for a change instead of be nervous."