Archive for December, 2003




2003 Archived News

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Congratulations! (12/15/2003)
Congratulations to Adelaine Polito who skated great to make final round in Juvenile Girls at U.S. Junior Nationals.

Adelaine, who is coached by Gary Visconti, is a terrific skater whose power and flow helped her skate into 15th place in final round.

Please check back soon to find an interview with Adelaine!

Congratulations! (12/15/2003)
Los Angeles Club Member Andrew Huertas, son of Elise and Luis Huertas, skated into third place in the Juvenile Boys event at the 2003 Jr. Nationals Championship held December 2 – 6th in Scottsdale, Arizona. Coached by Ellen Byrnes Slosarchuk, Andrew’s goals for the season were to make it to the Jr. National Championship and qualify for the final round. He exceeded his own expectations when he captured the bronze medal.

Andrew has been skating for six years and has been a member of LAFSC since 1998. He admits that the highlight of his 2003 season was the award ceremony in Scottsdale for Jr. Nationals but don’t look for him to hang his hat on this achievement. Andrew is packing his 2004 season with goals that include a double axel, triple salchow, triple loop or triple toe. And when he isn’t working on his freeskating, he can be found skating with the internationally famous Los Angeles Theatre on Ice team. One of only three young men on the team, Andrew lends his extensive skating skills to the squad with high flying jumps and spins while improving his presentation before live audiences.

Outside of the rink, Andrew enjoys flying remote controlled aircraft. He has both a plane and helicopter and has envisioned the possibility of becoming a pilot in the future.

Andrew’s favorite skater is Alexi Yagudin and his favorite maneuvers are flying camels and the double lutz. Encouraged by his parents, Andrew’s philosophy regarding skating is that there needs to be a balance between hard work and fun. His mother is a former skater who, along with his father, home school Andrew at the 8th grade level.

Andrew would like to thank all the members of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club for their support this past year which helped him achieve his goals at Jr. Nationals and he looks forward to representing LAFSC in future competitions.

New Policy! (12/15/2003)
Policy regarding free LAFSC home club memberships and session privileges for members who place at qualifying competitions:

1. Skaters who place in the top four in final round qualifying events at Regional Championships will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year. Skaters who place first in non-qualifying events will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year.

2. Skaters who place in the top four in qualifying round events at Sectional Championships will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year and free skating privileges at LAFSC sessions for the six months following the Sectional Championships.

3. All Sectional competitors in qualifying events who are not included in Paragraph 1 (byes and competitors who bypass Regional Championships, such as Junior or Senior Pairs and Dance competitors) or Paragraph 2 will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year.

4. Skaters who place in the top four in final round qualifying events at National Championships will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year and free skating privileges at LAFSC sessions for the twelve months following the National Championships.

5. All National competitors in qualifying events who are not included in Paragraph 2 (byes) or Paragraph 4 will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year and free skating privileges at LAFSC sessions for the six months following the National Championships.

6. Skaters who place first in non-qualifying events at National Championships (open events at the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships and all events at the National Collegiate Championships) will receive a free home club membership for the following membership year.

NOTE: Free skating privileges at LAFSC sessions are contingent upon maintaining home club membership.

LAFSC 2003 Annual Meeting Report (12/1/2003)
LAFSC’s 2003 Annual Meeting was a great success.

The President, Ken Taylor, called the meeting to order shortly after 6:00 PM in the Embassy Room at Pickwick. After introducing the Officers and Board Members, he briefly reviewed Spring Revue, Showcase, International Theater on Ice Competition, and Club Competition, all held successfully during the past year.

In 2004 we have scheduled the California Open Championships at Lakewood on April 3 & 4. Spring Revue will be April 17 at Pickwick. Showcase is June 5 & 6 at Pickwick. LAFSC is hosting the Southern California Inter-Club Competition June 25 – 27 at Pickwick. The Los Angeles Open Championships will be held July 16 – 18 at Pickwick. This will be a Future Champions Series competition. LAFSC will also be hosting the 2005 Southwest Pacific Regional Championships on October 12 – 17 at Pickwick. Open Juvenile singles events will be included. This will be the last year Southwest Pacific will include Arizona and Las Vegas. Redistricting will be effective in 2005.

Karen Dillon presented the proposed Bylaws amendment (see page 3 of the last issue) and it’s rationale. She also gave a summary of the Conflict Resolution Policy, to which the amendment refers. The amendment was approved unanimously and will become effective 9/1/04.

The Pesident acknowledged last year’s National Champions, Michelle Kwan, Dennis Phan and Ricky Dornbush. Chronologically, International skaters in the current year have been Jonathan Keen with Marisa Sharma at North American Challenge in Mentor, OH, and Michelle Kwan at the Campbell Classic in New York.

Our Jr. National competitors, Adelaine Polito, Juvenile Girls, and Andrew Huertas, Juvenile Boys, were recognized with Certificates of Appreciation from the Club and a bouquet of flowers.

Pacific Coast competitors Tiffany Stiegler, 1st in Senior Pairs with Bert Cording; Lindsay and Brian Rogeness, 4th in Senior Pairs; Don Baldwin, 5th in Senior Men; Jonathan Keen, 6th in Junior Pairs with Marisa Sharma; and Jordan Judt, 4th in Novice Pairs with Tamara Tossey were acknowledged and National competitors Tiffany, Lindsay, Brian and Jordan were presented with Certificates of Appreciation and bouquets for those present.

Certificates and bouquets were also presented to our Adult National medallists, all gold, Paula Smart, Patty Poddig, and Maurice Palinski.

Honorary Live Memberships were awarded to Edward and Carol Stavert, owners of the Pickwick Center. 2003 marks 40 years at Pickwick and the interest and support of the Staverts has helped us attain National and International prominence. The Staverts were on vacation so their granddaughter, accepted the award for them.

The Ginger Flaherty Award for Volunteer of the Year again went to two people, Ian MacInnes and Charlie Miltimore. Ian and Charlie have always been available to work our events, doing anything and everything.

Those receiving Gold Medals were
Allison Larson Senior Free Skating
Tiffany Koenig Senior Free Skating
Misha West Senior Moves in the Field
Rebecca Dornbush Senior Moves in the Field
Dennis Phan Senior Free Skating
Liisa Freeh Senior Free Skating
Sima Ganaba Senior Free Skating
Patty Poddig Adult Gold Moves in the Field

Those present were Misha West from Phoenix, AZ, Rebecca Dornbush from Corona, CA, and Liisa Freeh, who came from St. Louis, MO, and Patty Poddig, who is nearest from Buena Park, CA, but was late because of an accident on the freeway.


Following our Annual Meeting, LAFSC’s Junior Council held its first Party – a Semi-Formal Bash with a DJ, Dancing, Pizza, a Bake Sale, and a Toy Drive to benefit charity. Several of our members and their friends participated and had a great time. Pictures from the Party will soon be available in the Junior Council Section.

LAFSC proudly announces its 2003-2004 Junior Council Officers:

Charitable Committee Chair – Jessica Perino
Charitable Committee Secretary – Krystal Davis

Fund-raising Committee Chair – Sarah Blood
Fund-raising Committee Secretary – Girade Jackson

Social Committee Chair – Serineh Mnatsakanyan
Social Committee Secretary – Elina Adut

Good Luck At National’s! (11/30/2003)
LAFSC also wants to show support for our Club Skaters who earned a bye to Nationals this year. Good Luck to MICHELLE KWAN at Nationals!!!

Congratulations! (11/30/2003)
JORDAN JUDT – who with partner Tamara Tossey placed fourth in Novice Pairs at Pacific Coast Sectionals also making Nationals. Congratulations on great skating, and we wish you the best at Nationals!!!

Congratulations! (11/30/2003)
LINDSAY ROGENESS & BRIAN ROGENESS – Congratulations on placing fourth in Junior Pairs at Pacific Coast Sectionals making Nationals. What an accomplishment! LAFSC wishes you the best of luck!

Congratulations! (11/30/2003)
TIFFANY STIEGLER – who with partner Bert Cording won Senior Pairs at Pacific Coast Sectionals making Nationals. What a great start to your debut year together!! We wish you the best at Nationals!!

Congratulations! (11/07/2003)
Congratulations to David Allen, Laura Stern, and Hayley SooHoo

Congratulations to David Allen who won the prestigious Chuck Williams Memorial Award at Desert Ice in Las Vegas. This award is presented to the best musical interpretation by a male skater in a free skating event at any level. David competed in Pre-Preliminary Boys and is coached by Denise Moore.

Congratulates to Laura Stern as a recipient of the Betty Sonhalter Award.

Congratulations to Hayley SooHoo who won both the Betty Sonnhalter Memorial Trophy for the most outstanding performance in Juvenile – Senior at the Rim of the World Championships, and the Jacqueline Haak Trophy for the most outstanding performance at
Pasadena Figure Skating Club Competition.

Congratulations to all of our accomplished skaters!

USFSA Governing Council Meeting Highlights (9/1/2003)
For the complete Governing Coucil Report of Action go to:

It was approved that skaters placing 1st through 6th at the previous U.S. Championships at the senior level in men, ladies, pairs and dance will receive an automatic invitation to the current U.S. Championships in the same discipline. There will be no replacements should skaters decline the invitation at the current U.S. Championships.

It was approved that there will be no byes given at the U.S. Championships except to those skaters that have a conflict with an international competition.

It was approved that fill-up rules will apply for the U.S. Junior Championships and U.S. Championships in singles, pairs and dance.

A change was made to the Eligible Coach classification chart ER 8.06 as approved in the November Board of Directors Meeting. The change allows for eligible coaches to be elected officers in member clubs as long as the eligible coaches do not represent a majority on the club board. A coach can still no longer be elected as an officer in the USFSA.

The new competition structure was approved with 12 regional championships and 4 sectional championships, effective for the 2005-6 season. Southern Califronia will then be its own region. For Juvenile and Intermediate, 3 skaters in each discipline will advance from regionals to the U.S. Junior Championships, making a total of 36 entries in each class.

The Governing Council approved to increase the Vice Presidents’ Fund from $45,000 to $60,000.

The Governing Council approved to increase the hosting grant for the U.S. Adult Championships from $18,000 to $25,000.

LAFSC Club Competition Results! (7/31/2003)
Congratulations to Krystal Davis & Roxette Howe!
Krystal (Juv. Ladies) is this year’s winner of the Virginia Fratianne trophy for most Artistic Performance, and Roxette (Pre. Girls) is the winner of the Van Valkenberg Trophy for most Outstanding Performance.
To View Results please go to the Archive.

UPDATE!!! Dennis wins Garden Spring Trophy in Italy! (4/30/2003)
By Dawn Eyerly

UPDATE!!! Dennis wins Garden Spring Trophy in Italy! Congratulations Dennis!

Los Angeles Figure Skating Club’s own Dennis Phan is the United States 2003 Junior Men Champion! Dennis began skating nine years ago when his mother casually took him to the rink. Little did they know then what terrific talent and drive he possessed. With the help of his longtime coach Tammy Gambill and his choreographer Phillip Mills, over these last nine years, Dennis has proven to the skating world that he is the future of skating.

Dennis’ competitive career began in 1998 when he placed third in Juvenile Boys. The next year, he won Intermediate Boys at Pacific Coast Sectionals, and placed sixth at Junior Olympics. In 2000, Dennis moved up to Novice Men, won Southwest Regionals, won Pacific Coast Sectionals and placed fourth at the U.S. Championships. In 2001, Dennis moved up to Junior Men. In his first year as a junior man, Dennis won the silver medal at Pacific Coast Sectionals, and placed ninth at the 2001 U.S.Championships. In 2002, Dennis returned to the U.S. Championships and earned a silver medal. Not willing to settle for a silver medal, he came back this year in Dallas, Texas, and won the coveted Junior Men title.

Dennis has also been strutting his stuff in the international World. In 2002, Dennis competed in Skate Slovakia, part of the ISU Junior Grand Prix series. There, Dennis competed against 22 other men from around the world and earned sixth place overall. In March of this year, Dennis competed at the Gardena Spring Trophy in Italy an won Gold in the Junior Men’s event.

Not only is Dennis a terrific skater, he is also a good role model. Despite his many achievements in skating, Dennis has remained a good student and is involved in his community. In 2001, Dennis’ balance was recognized, and he was awarded the Betty Sonnhalter Award. This prestigious Award is presented to skaters that successfully juggle skating, school, and life in their busy schedules.

Congratulations to Dennis for all of his marvelous achievements!

Michelle wins her 5th WORLD TITLE!!! (4/15/2003)
By Dawn Eyerly

UPDATE: Michelle wins her 5th WORLD TITLE!!! – Congratulations Michelle!

Longtime Los Angeles Figure Skating Club member Michelle Kwan has won her seventh U.S. Championships! She has almost broken Maribel Vinson Owen’s unbelievable record of nine titles. Michelle will be competing at the World Championships in Washington D.C. in March. This competition will mark Michelle’s ninth appearance at the World Championships, of which she has medaled seven times.

To describe Michelle’s accomplishments both as a skater and as a member of the community would cover hundreds of pages. She is currently the most decorated skater in U.S. history earning the most scores of 6.0 in major competitions. In short, Michelle has been an inspiration for skaters, athletes from other sports, and the general public as well.
Michelle has exuded class and grace throughout her seventeen years as a skater. She continues to compete and perform because she loves it, and that love shows in every performance.

Michelle began skating at the age of 5 after watching her brother play hockey. Both Michelle and her sister Karen immediately learned that they had talent and a genuine love for the sport. While Karen stopped skating in 1997 to pursue college, and eventually to coach, Michelle continued to prosper into the skating legend that she has become. Michelle has managed to balance her skating with her education and significant community service. Michelle is currently attending UCLA while training with her new coach, Scott Williams.

Michelle, congratulations on all of your accomplishments, and congratulations on your 5th World title!

Ricky Dornbush: Juvenille Boys Champion (1/01/2003)
Ricky Dornbush: Wins Juvenille Boys at US Junior Figure Skating Championships.

I think most of us would agree that even though you may skate on the ice all alone (if you do singles), there is, in fact, an entire team of people that has helped that skater, in one way or another, to be on the ice. As a club, we are very proud of Ricky for his accomplishment of winning the title of Juvenile Boys at the 2003 U.S. Junior Figure Skating Championships. But in addition to talking to Ricky, I also wanted to highlight those other members of his “team” who care about him and want him to realize his dreams.

Coach – Tammy Gambill
Tammy sees a lot of kids during the group lessons she teaches, but she remembers seeing Ricky and thinking he reminded her a bit of Scott Hamilton. She noticed he had fun skating, wasn’t afraid of speed, had good control of his edges, and improved quickly. After working with him now for five years, Tammy appreciates his ability to be focused and serious about his skating when he needs to be; he listens well and is good at making corrections. She works to instill in her male students a sense of style and presence on the ice being artistic, yet still being very masculine.

Tammy’s own coach was Barbara Roles; she credits Barbara with teaching her the importance of the student/coach relationship. Tammy wants her students to know that even though she may be hard on them at times, she cares about them and wants them to do well. I asked Tammy how she handles it when one of her student’s performances is not up to snuff. She said that no one goes out and tries to skate poorly, so the skater needs to think of mistakes made as a learning experience.

The Dornbush Family
How many young skaters would be at the rink if it weren’t for their parents providing chauffeur services? As a mother of four, Mrs. Dornbush probably does a lot of driving when she is not home schooling her children or sewing professionally. The oldest daughter is in college, and then there is Becca (16), Melissa (14), and Ricky (11). It was really pure chance that Ricky and his three sisters started skating. Because of the home schooling, they need to have a form of P.E., and when Riverside Ice Town opened around five years ago, it made sense to try ice skating. Although Ricky was somewhat reluctant at first, after twelve weeks of skating, he was hooked. Ricky and Becca usually practice together and help each other with their skating no sibling rivalry here, from what I understand. However, recently Becca was out sick, so Ricky had to get used to practicing on his own. In the usually overwhelmingly female sport of ice skating, Ricky is lucky that there are a number of other male skaters at Ice-Town one of them is Dennis Phan, the Junior Men’s champion at the 2003 U.S. Figure Skating Championships (it’s always nice to have a role model around).

Ricky’s skating schedule is 2 hours a day, 5 days a week; he also does a free skating ses- sion and a stroking class on Saturday mom- ings at 6 AM. Somehow amidst all this, he still finds time now and then to play a bit of baseball and football with his dad. I asked Ricky if he ever minded having to get up so early in the morning to skate. He replied that he doesn’t want to get up so early, but he ends up regretting it if he doesn’t, so …. Unfortunately, skating can cramp one’s social life a bit. Although he has friends outside of skating, he doesn’t often do over-nights, since he has to be up bright and early on Saturday for skating. He has three half-hour lessons a week with Tammy and also does off ice training consisting of stretching and strengthening and a ballet class (just for guys). It must be paying off, because this young man has a beautiful camel spin with a high free leg and a super low sit spin, things you don’t often see done well, even among the senior men.

I asked Mrs. Dornbush if the family made any sacrifices to accommodate an expensive activity like skating. She said that they don’t often take vacations, and of course, there are always nice things you would like to have, but sometimes you have to do without. The skaters at the Riverside rink were very fortunate in that between Southwest and Pacific Coast they held a skating benefit, “An Evening with Champions,” that helped to defray costs for those skaters who were going on to Nationals from their rink.

After his stroking class, I made Ricky sit down for a few minutes and answer some of those “typical” skating ques-tions. His answers: his favorite skater is Scott Hamilton, his favorite move to perform is the double axel, and he likes to skate to fast music. I asked him if he had found a big competition like Junior Nationals to be intimidating. Even though it was his second time to compete in Juvenile Boys, he was still a bit nervous at first – he said he knew he had to work hard to do well. Maybe it was some of that nervous energy that caused his first jump (a double lutz) to be so high he barely landed it. But like a champ, he settled down and didn’t let it bother him, and went on to finish his program admirably.

I watched Ricky skate a few times to his new program, done by his choreographer of two years, Philip Mills (another “team” member), to some wonderfully dramatic Russian (?) music, and for such a new program, Ricky was doing a great job and having fun with it. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said a jet rocket engineer. We all love to skate, but it is good to know that college is in his future, too.

The Los Angeles Figure Skating Club is so fortunate to have so many wonderful skaters (and every member is valued and special). If you haven’t had a chance yet to visit Ice-Town in Riverside, go on by – it is a great rink with two ice surfaces (and a Starbuck’s nearby for the parents).

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