YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For most young athletes, competition ends when you graduate from high school. Especially when the sport you love isn’t even offered in college. We introduce you to a group of students that refused to hang up their skates, and instead started their own club at Youngstown State.
“I just love the sport, and I love competing, so I just came to Ice Zone one day and decided to lace up some skates, haha,” laughed Jenna Vaughn.
And with that, a program was born… or at least the idea. Last year, four girls approached Youngstown State about starting a club. The university agreed to help with the costs, and the girls would bring figure skating to YSU.
“The best part is the family aspect,” said Jessica McGeary. “I see everyone of these boys and girls as brothers and sisters, absolutely.”
Teammate Katie Stanwood likewise appreciate the cameraderie.
“I mean, we pretty much spend every weekend together, we do everything together. We’re always together. I don’t think you’ll every see us apart,” she said.
It didn’t take long for the Penguins find success. This year, their first competition resulted in a 2nd place finish. They beat club programs from big universities like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ohio State. This past weekend, YSU took home their first gold medal, with a first place finish in Ann Arbor.
“It’s just awesome to be able to just get out there and say hey at YSU we do have a figure skating program and it’s something different,” team member Elena Yemma added.
“If they came out and watched us, i feel like the way we skate and the way we can captivate an audience they would be mesmorized like “oh these girls can do this.” And younger kids and even adults that want to come out and try it, they can have a blast, and just learn to skate with us. People in the valley don’t consider skating as a big thing but, we just want to grab everybody’s attention and say hey, we’re out here to make memories and like, make our community proud,” McGeary said.