Sophie Miller and Claire Malone develop a joint passion for Synchronized Skating
Sophie Miller (12) and Claire Malone (12) interlock their arms as they glide over the ice. Miller and Malone showed have been skating together for years. “Ive been skating with her [Malone] since I moved here,” Miller said.
Sophie Miller (12) and Claire Malone (12) interlock their arms as they glide over the ice. Miller and Malone showed have been skating together for years. “Ive been skating with her [Malone] since I moved here,” Miller said.
Vincent Hsiao
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Sophie Miller

Amid the glimmering ice of the Webster Groves Ice Rink, Sophie Miller (12) is caught etching her dream into the frosty floor. Every morning before school, Miller finds herself lacing up her skates for the first of three practices of the day. Miller knows that the road to making Team USA is paved with relentless training and unwavering ambition, so with every glide through the ice, she grows closer and closer to her goals.

 “My biggest goal is to skate for Team USA and represent it in at least one international competition, or maybe even [the world competition],” Miller said.

Miller started syncronized skating at three, and now, 15 years later, her once-impossible goal is just a few months away. Miller joined the Crystallites, a brand-new synchronized skating team, as one of her steps toward achieving her goal. Since the team is based in Michigan, where Miller plans to attend college, practice sessions will require weekly trips up to Michigan as summer approaches. Making the squad was a big step forward, since Miller will try out for Team USA with this group. 

“I’m going out of state for this team so it was a two-day tryout,” Miller said. “There are on-ice tryouts where we do skills and see how you work with the team. Then, there are off-ice tryouts, where they test how flexible you are, see how many push-ups you can do, sit-ups, and then it’s a matter of just waiting.” 

Miller is a senior level skater at her club and often compares this rank to earning a blackbelt in karate. She’s achieve the highest level of skating her club offers to try and boost her likelihood of being selected for Team USA.

“[Miller] is not going to make you feel bad for not being able to do a skill that she can,” Miller’s teammate Natalie Giedeman said. “Instead, she will help you learn how to do it, even if your skill level is different from hers.

Making Team USA will remain merely a dream for most. With a difficult tryout process and hundreds of competitors, making a national skating team such as Team USA is no easy feat. However, accoring to her teammates, Millers situation will help her odds.

“Team USA is very difficult, we have only had a couple of girls in the past couple of years actually qualify for Team USA,” Miller’s teammate Lindy Shannon said. “Being able to know you have a club that has already asked you to be on the team, and knows you will be on Team USA is crazy.”

Claire Malone 

Senior prom is a night where seniors celebrate years of hard work with a fun and memorable evening with their friends. For Claire Malone (12), her long term vision and outlook on synchronized skating dwarfs this huge event. Malone opted to miss her Senior Prom for a tryout with the Miami of Ohio Synchronized Skating Team, a testament to her commitment to her lifelong passion.

It takes most people a very long time to determine their passion, if they are even able to find it at all. Claire’s path, however, couldn’t be more different.

“I fell in love with skating when I first saw the Nutcracker On Ice show in second grade.” Malone said. “I remember I was watching and I thought ‘This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen, and this is what I’m going to do with my life.’”

Rather than focusing on individual talent, as in figure skating, synchronized skating is built upon teamwork, as the 16 team members organize themselves into well-orchestrated and thought-out arrangements. This style has resonated with Claire and morphed into an intense passion.

“Whenever I’m skating, I get the feeling that I was born to do this,” Malone said.

Malone’s passion for skating has helped her develop a mindset that breeds success in the skating world and beyond. Malone’s friend and former teammate Kyan LaMear can testify to this.

“She keeps a very open mind and she’s always willing to learn new things,” LaMear said. “She inspires younger skaters and is just a great example.”

This mindset didn’t come to fruition by itself. Malone’s friend and former teammate Sophie Miller (12) has made a long lasting impact on Malone’s skating journey.

“Sophie [and I] have similar work ethics, so we’ve been able to push each other to grow and progress since fifth grade,” Malone said. “I’ve grown up with her since then, so I kind of think of her as my sister.”

While Malone plans to continue skating in college, she isn’t expecting her journey to stop there.

“I would love to one day be a coach,” said Malone. “I love working with kids and I love pushing people to be better. I just always want to have a connection with skating.”

Malone has developed these qualities due in large part to the example set by her coach, Hannah Meneely. Meneely had her own successful skating journey before transitioning into coaching, similar to how Malone desires to.

“I always see [Malone] interact with younger skaters,” Meneely said. “She [has] really helped mentor them and she’s always super compassionate and helpful, which are great qualities if your goal is to become a coach.”

In addition to furthering her skating career at the collegiate level, Malone is in the midst of trying out for the U.S. synchronized skating team. While Malone has already achieved plenty in the world of skating, she also understands what it will take for her  continued success.

“Putting in the work isn’t a little bit here and there,” Malone said. “It’s putting 110% into everything I do. If I want to accomplish something, I’m gonna do everything in my power to do it.”

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About the Contributors
Mason Eastman
Mason Eastman, Staff
Sophomore Mason Eastman is a writer on Panorama, and this is her first year staff. Mason likes to spend her time playing soccer and hanging out with friends.
Ryan Snyder
Ryan Snyder, Staff
Junior Ryan Snyder is a staffer on Panorama. This is Ryan's first year on staff. In his free time, Ryan enjoys listening to music, spending time with his friends, and watching sports in which he acts like he can play as well as the players he watches.
Vincent Hsiao
Vincent Hsiao, Photo Editor in Chief
Sophomore Vincent Hsiao is the photography editor in chief for Panorama. He was previously a staff photographer for Ladue Publications where he significantly contributed to photos in both the Panorama newsmagazine and Rambler yearbook. Outside of photography, Hsiao is on the Ladue swim team and has been a swimmer since he was six.
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