The speed and figure skaters hit the ice and practice towards the end of the week. While the speed skaters were taking laps inside the arena, figure skaters had the outdoor facility for a round of Compulsory Practice.

Laura Beth Matus of Alabama (Level 2) was the first Special Olympics USA figure skaters to train on Friday morning. Figure skating coach Tappie Dellinger said this was Matus’s first time on an outdoor skating arena and while she was nervous, she had a “decent practice working on her stroking and crossovers.” 

Ian Rawn of Texas (Level 3) was tasked with working on his edge quality and his turns. “He was very excited to be back on the ice,” Dellinger said. “He practiced hard and enjoyed being outdoors.”

Allan Lohr of Florida (Level 3) loves a challenge, according to Dellinger. “He’s very laid back, but he certainly can recognize his competition when he sees it – he views it as a challenge. He’s very ready for competition.”

Joni Talavera of Pennsylvania (Level 6) focused on her edge quality today. “She’s much stronger with her edge skills since training camp.”

Meanwhile, the traditional floor hockey team from Southern California played a number of games:

  • T 1-1 vs. Japan
  • W 4-0 vs. Sweden
  • W 6-0 vs. Lithuania
  • L 0-2 vs. Canada
  • W 4-1 vs. China

These games were for regulation teams only and were only for divisioning so the games were shortened to 9 minutes.

Head coach Rodney Hurn said of the team’s 3-1-1 record on Friday, “The first game we should have won. They hadn’t practiced in two weeks, so they were a little rusty, but we got in the groove after that.”

One thing Hurn said the team needs to work on for future games is its passing accuracy, but that the on-court communication between teammates was stellar.

A couple of athletes who stood out today were Jordan Bradley (four goals) and Arianna Gulick who was aggressive as a winger and defender.

“Being a girl out there with all those guys, she wasn’t afraid to throw her butt in front of some big dudes,” Hurn said. “That’s my girl!”

In the lone loss today, Casey Lucore, shined in net stopping 18 Canadian shots.

The team will take the court again on Sunday for the beginning of round robin games (times and opponents TBD).

“We’re really looking forward to the games coming up,” Hurn said.