Coach Maria Phillips talks to the United Farmington Figure Skating Team Feb. 2 at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena.

Coach Maria Phillips talks to the United Farmington Figure Skating Team Feb. 2 at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena.

Photo by Donna Agusti


United Farmington Figure Skating Team looks for skaters

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published February 5, 2019

 Team members Elizabeth Niemenski, 16, front; Julia Tatone, 16; and Mindy Leidal, 17, all of Farmington Hills, attend a practice Feb. 2.

Team members Elizabeth Niemenski, 16, front; Julia Tatone, 16; and Mindy Leidal, 17, all of Farmington Hills, attend a practice Feb. 2.

Photo by Donna Agusti

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FARMINGTON HILLS  — United Farmington Figure Skating Team parent volunteer Judy McGlashan doesn’t mind the mornings.

She wakes up before the sun comes up and drives her daughter Tessa, 18, a senior at North Farmington High School, to do something that makes her beam with pride: ice skate.

McGlashan said that now that she doesn’t have any young children at home, she can go to the ice rink once a week with her daughter at around 6 a.m.

“I don’t mind getting up and going to the rink once a week,” she said. “There is a great camaraderie, and everybody works together — same common goal. The girls have a great time. They enjoy skating. They enjoy one another’s company. … When your daughter comes off the ice at 6:50 a.m. laughing and having a good time, you know this is the sport for them.”

The community high school figure skating team meets weekly in the morning, typically on Thursdays, November through March at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena, 35500 W. Eight Mile Road.

The self-funded team concludes its season at a state competition.

McGlashan said that when her daughter graduates, the team will go from six participants to five; members range from ninth grade to 12th grade.

“The team will be looking for more skaters for next season,” she said.

Her older daughter was on the team before, when there were about 12 to 16 members.

“(People) call the girls ‘small but mighty,’ not physically small, but in (team) size,” she said.

Male and female skaters from North Farmington, Farmington and Harrison high schools are welcome to join. The club sport offers members the potential to earn a club varsity letter and welcomes skaters of all levels. 

The team is the smallest team in its division. 

Julie Callcut, a parent volunteer, said that the girls work “really hard.”

“I’m very impressed that they are at the ice arena at 5:45 a.m. once a week to practice,” she said, adding that membership also requires private coaching for the girls throughout the week.

Her daughter, Emily, who is new to the team,  joined the team late last year, and both mom and daughter said they felt welcomed.

“I think for her being the youngest on the team and trying to prove herself has been a little bit of a challenge, but I like the way they all work together.”

The team had a district competition Jan. 14 at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena, winning second place.

Callcut said that her daughter started skating when she was 7.

“She found she really enjoyed it. Then we got her a private teacher, and she’s been working with her ever since,” Callcut said, adding that it is most important for skaters to know one thing: “We support them and we encourage them, and we just want to see them keep improving and enjoying the sport. Obviously, they must love it, otherwise they wouldn’t get up that early.”

Emily Callcut said that being a member is “a lot of fun, kind of complicated.”

“Mostly I really just enjoy skating, and my coach has been pushing me to join for a couple of years,” she said. “The girls are super nice. I always felt welcome with them. … They always try their hardest to get me involved with everything.”

Lucy Choe, the team’s manager, said team competitions are slated for Feb. 11 at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena and Feb. 17 in Dearborn; both are scheduled for 4-8 p.m. and are open to the public.

Choe said the competition determines who will move on to compete at the state level in March.

Emily Callcut — who is working on perfecting a figure skating move, the crossover — said that ice skating is teaching her how to be prompt with things.

“With this, you have to be on time and make the most of your practice time,” she said, adding that ice skating is also helping her “just be a better person.”    

“Everybody’s, like, such a great person, and I can learn a lot from them,” she said.

For more information, email Choeuffst2016@gmail.com.

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