Stefani Andrews is 21 years old, and has been skating on a synchronized team for 10 years. She has gold medal tests in moves, freeskate and dance. This past season was her first year on Ice’Kateers. She graduated from Miami University in May of 2011, and has been applying to graduate schools. Her favorite skating memories include skating on California Gold the first year they medaled at nationals, her senior year at Miami getting back into the top two and going to the World Championships in Helsinki, Finland, and this past nationals where she skated with the Ice’Kateers and made it on the podium.
How did this season differ from past seasons?
This season was different for me because I went into it not thinking I would be skating. I had been asked by one of my friends who had joined the team to come hold a place because at that point in the season the Ice’Kateers did not have a full roster. I was on the fence about committing to skating with the team, not because I did not want to, but because I felt like I should be trying to find a career or doing something in the field I am interested in, marine biology. I am very happy I decided to stay through the end. The coaches and parents were very helpful and supportive of where I am in my life, and where I am hoping to go.
What were your goals/expectations leading up to Nationals?
My personal goal for nationals was to skate my best and to help the team in any way I could. I wanted to place fourth but I knew all I could do was skate my best, and prove to the judges and the technical panel that we deserved to be there.
How did you feel following short leading up to long?
The entire team had great energy after the short program. Up until that point we had not competed against another U.S. team and it was an awesome feeling knowing that all our hard work had paid off, especially after having such a rough start. Of course, we knew that being fourth after short program was not the end of it. We still had to work hard and show everyone that we deserved to be on the podium.
What was it like waiting in the chute to get on the ice for awards?
Waiting to get on the ice was surreal. I was surrounded by my team, the team that had gotten up countless times at “0-dark thirty” as I call it, and pushed through the 4:45 and 5 a.m. practices; the team that had jumped at the opportunity to skate extra on Saturdays; the team that had welcomed me into their group in the middle of the season and had made me feel like I was one of the girls. And, on top of that all my friends back at Miami were there celebrating with me too. It was unreal; I cannot put into words how amazing it felt learning we had reached our goal, that we would be on the podium; that all my friends at Miami had been supporting me and my new team the entire competition, and that this new team that I had just become a part of was exactly where they wanted to be.
What advice do you have for younger skaters who dream of being on a nationally competitive senior team?
Keep working hard. You never know when the opportunity will come along, and when it does be as ready as you can be. Remember to never give up. Hardships are a part of life but it’s when we overcome those obstacles that we not only grow in our skating but as a person as well. And last but not least, have fun! We only live once, live every moment to the fullest because those are the memories you will keep with you for a lifetime.
What are your goals for the future?
I hope to go to grad school in the next year and get a masters degree in either marine biology or environmental toxicology, and then eventually move out into the real world and start my career. Who knows I may coach sometime in the future as well. As far as skating goes, I’m not sure what is in store yet. I don’t know if I am ready for this to be my last season, however, I do feel this past season would be a great way to end my synchronized skating career, but who knows what the future will bring.