Local ladies eye Figure Skating Championships

Recorder Staff
Published: 4/9/2018 10:34:37 PM

Several area locals have their eyes on the prize, as the 2018 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships begin today at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough.

The five-day event kicks off today and is hosted by the Yarmouth Figure Skating Club.

Locally, the New England West Skating Club, which does some of its training out of Collins-Moylan Arena in Greenfield, will be represented by three skaters at the Nationals. The yearly event was last in New England in 2014 (Hyannis), while last year’s championship took place in Wake Forest, N.C.

There are five classifications in adult figure skating, and the western Massachusetts. contingent is represented in two of the five divisions. All three of the competitors took part in the 2014 edition the last time it was held in the Bay State.

Gill’s Kathryn Roberts-Snedeker (age 53) and Amherst’s Dee Williams (age 53) will both compete in Class III (46-55 year olds). Roberts, originally from Montreal, skated as a child but returned to it in 2009 when she enrolled her child in a Learn to Skate program at Collins-Moylan. Roberts, a flight attendant with United Airlines, is fresh off a gold medal at last month’s Colonial Adult Challenge.

McWilliams, who began skating at the age of 40, is a multi-sport athlete, trail runner and mountain biker. The grandmother of five who worked in the South Hadley public school system for 25 years has introduced the younger generation to the sport.

“I view the upcoming Adult Nationals as a personal challenge to skate my routine to the best of my ability,” McWilliams offered.

Ruth Morse of Hadley will take part in the Class V competition (66-plus). The 69-year old Morse started skating when she introduced her young daughter to the sport. She was also a competitive gymnast before turning into a gymnastics coach and judge, and she holds degrees in math and civil engineering and a masters in Kinesiology.

“The ongoing challenges of skating are going to keep me occupied for the rest of my life,” Morse explained.

Linda Taylor of Ashfield was scheduled to take to the ice in the Class V competition as a 70-year old skater before a recent fall put her on the injured-reserve list and she’ll be forced to miss the event.

Taylor, a graphic artist and owner of her own dairy farm, began skating at the age of 40.

“Skating has helped me stay strong and flexible and keeps my posture healthy,” she said.

All four skaters are coached by Suzanne McCaughtry of Keene. McCaughtry has coached figure skating in the Franklin County and western New England region for over 40 years.

Rounding out the locals involved is Susan Essig of Shutesbury. Like Taylor, Essig suffered an injury recently and will be unable to participate in the championships. The 69-year old retired from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She’s coached by Stacy Chickering of West Chesterfield, N.H.

The skaters have trained all season in preparation for this week’s event at Collins-Moylan, Orr Rink in Amherst, Keene Ice Center and Nelson Withington Skating Rink in Brattleboro.

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