Freshman figures Eagles need a skating club


Bailey Monteith

Freshman skating club president Samantha Vo glides on the ice in the URC on Jan. 24 2019. Vo competed in figure skating until she was injured at 16 years old.

By Drew Lawson, Reporter

At 6:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays, while most EWU students are either fast asleep or grumbling through their morning routine, Samantha Vo can be seen with the ice skating club, gliding across the ice at the URC.

The freshman from Tacoma has been president of the ice skating club for about two weeks, with  the club meeting for the first time on Jan. 23. She wanted to start the club with a friend earlier in the school year, but her friend transferred, so the club didn’t get off the ground until this month.

“I saw (EWU) had a really nice rink but didn’t have an ice skating club,” Vo said. “Technically it’s been active all year, but we’re just starting to kick it up.”

When Vo was 11, she discovered a love for skating in Tacoma through her mom, Marisol, going to the ice rink that was nearby. She began to compete, and in 2012, took part in and won the U.S. Figure Skating Northwest Regionals in Spokane.

She advanced in Northwest Regionals for the next four years after that, getting two more first-place finishes and two third-place finishes.

“This sounds super cocky,” Vo said with a laugh. “When I skated (competitively) I was good up until I got injured.”

After an injury forced Vo to quit competitive skating when she was 16, she decided to transition to coaching. She took a test called USFS Moves in the Field to find out what her coaching abilities were.

“It’s testing to get your level so you can or can’t do different sorts of coaching,” Vo said. “I have my Junior Moves in the Field and I’m a novice in freestyle, which includes jumps and stuff.”

Vo, who plans to major in physical therapy and exercise science, hopes to one day reach gold status as a skater, which is one of the highest levels an individual can reach. This ranking encompasses both player and coaching status.

“It’s just a title to (achieve),” Vo said. “It’s a (rank) as a whole.”

Since entering college, Vo has eased back into skating through presidency of the ice skating club. She first got acquainted with EWU’s ice rink through campus events and social gatherings. The first was Rec-Splosion, an event EWU puts on during Welcome Week in the URC to welcome new and returning students.

“When the rec center had that explosion thing, that was really fun,” Vo said. “Then me and my friends have skated the public (skates).”

The club meets from 6:30 to 8 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the URC Ice Rink. Thus far, the club has four members, the minimum required by EWU to secure club status. One member is first-year student Grayson Farbo, who takes ice skating lessons at EWU in addition to being a club participant. Farbo discovered ice skating on a field trip to Mountain View Ice Arena in Vancouver.

“My first time on the ice was an honor roll sixth grade field trip,” Farbo said. “I really liked it, so when I found out they had lessons at (EWU), I was like, ‘I want to do that.’”

Vo texted Farbo before club meetings began and said that the club will be a time to practice whatever moves or tricks members want, which isn’t always the case during free skating times.

“You can kind of practice whatever,” Farbo said. “Jumps and stuff, (but) I’m not there yet. I don’t think during the normal open skate you’re really supposed to do jumps because there’s too many people … I really want to get my backward crossovers down.”

Vo hopes that one day the club will enter collegiate competitions put on by the United States Figure Skating Association.

“I don’t know if anybody in the club would be interested in (competing),” Vo said. “But I definitely want to be recognized by USFS  and compete like that.”

Students who are interested in joining the ice skating club can sign up on the EWU Club website or by visiting the desk downstairs in the URC.•