Seven local adult ice skaters medal at Nationals

WAKE FOREST (N.C.) – Seven figure skaters from the Centre Ice Rink in Harrington competed at the 2017 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Wake Forest, North Carolina from April 19-22.

All seven skaters returned home with at least one medal.

Coaches Jerry Santoferrara and Tom Harrison combined to bring home six medals. Jerry captured gold in both the dramatic and light entertainment categories, while Tom brought home two gold (dramatic and artistic), one silver (champion freestyle) and one bronze (freestyle).

The pair of coaches medaled in each of the categories they entered.

Jerry, originally from upstate New York, has been in Delaware for 33 years. He started competing as a kid and now has about 40 years of skating experience under his belt.

Though he now lives in Newark, since about 2012 Jerry has been traveling down to Harrington a few times a week to teach skating lessons at the Centre Ice Rink.

Coaches Jerry Santoferrara (left) and Tom Harrison (right) combined to earn six medals at Nationals in Wake Forest last month (The Journal/Ben Heck).

How he ended up at Centre Ice Rink, he says, was a complete accident.

“At one point there was a person who was managing the rink who happened to be up in Newark, and we were talking, and she asked if I was interested in being a skating director down here. So, I decided I would do it,” he said.

As for Tom, he’s been at the Centre Ice Rink since it first opened.

“I started instructing here about 15 or 16 years ago,” he said.

Originally from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Tom now lives in Millsboro. He, like Jerry, also teaches skating lessons up north.

The pair teach all skating levels, ranging from young children all the way up to the adult skating group.

“They’re learning how to compete, keep their nerves under control and improving their skills,” Jerry said of the adult skating group who just competed at nationals two weekends ago. “Right now they are all competing at a bronze level, so that’s pretty good.”

Figure skaters Cindy Mullarkey (light entertainment) and Monica Stecher (light entertainment) each brought home bronze medals. Joanna Wilson (dramatic) and Karen Moffett (light entertainment) brought home pewter medals, while Paul Moffett captured gold in light entertainment.

With the adult competitions, it’s broken down by age group.

Cindy Mullarkey, from Milford, entered two categories: light entertainment and dramatic.

“Light entertainment are fun and you just kind of tell a story, and then there’s dramatic where you have to look good and have a strong routine,” Cindy said.

“It’s amazing,” she said of her group’s performance in Wake Forest. “Delaware is such a small state, and sometimes we get forgotten. A lot of people don’t even realize where we are. So to have a good showing like that – our odds aren’t usually very high – we all felt we did so well.”

Cindy skated recreationally as child until she was about 18, but didn’t put on a pair of skates again until she was 50. Now, eight years later, she’s regularly practicing at the Centre Ice Rink and competing at a national level.

“I kind of got in a rut when I was just taking lessons and doing local shows, but then once you make a decision to either test or compete, it gives you something to work for and it gets you more excited,” she said.

“We kind of all got the bug at the same time and thought we’d start with a small one, and it took off from there,” she continued.

From left to right: Joanna Wilson, Karen Moffett, Paul Moffett, Monica Stecher and Cindy Mullarkey. All five ice skaters brought home a medal from Nationals last month (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Paul and Karen Moffett each brought home medals in light entertainment.

Joanna Wilson brought home a medal in dramatic.

Monica Stecher, a bronze medalist, started skating at the age of 61 at the Talbot County Community Center in Easton, Maryland. Now 70, she’s the eldest member of the Centre Ice Rink’s skating club.

Figure skating has always been a dream of Monica’s but being from Peru originally, she hadn’t really received the opportunity to get into ice skating earlier in life.

After she and her husband retired, they came to the United States. They owned and operated a bed and breakfast in Tilghman Island (MD) for five years before moving on to Easton.

Upon learning about the ice rink in Easton, she decided this was her opportunity to finally get into ice skating.

Not long after starting, she became frustrated at the fact the Talbot County Community Center is only open five months out of the year. As a result, she started coming to the Harrington ice rink and approached one of the coaches about taking lessons.

“I approached one of the coaches and asked if he was willing to coach a grandmother, and he said ‘why not?’” she said.

She still lives in Easton and commutes to Harrington four times a week.

The group of adult skaters were part of the Centre Ice Rink’s annual spring ice show. This year’s show, “Beauty and the Beast” was put on this past weekend, with one show on Friday, April 28 and two shows on Saturday, April 29.

Though the national competition marks the end of the competition season for ice skating, the group of skaters will continue skating at the Centre Ice Rink until it closes for the season in June. The group is always open to accepting people interested in getting into ice skating.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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