Collegiate championships kick off Thursday
|Alissa Czisny. (Getty Images)|
(08/05/2008) - The 2008 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships begin Thursday, Aug. 7, in Arvada, Colo. More than 60 skaters will compete at the U.S. Collegiate Championships in the senior ladies, senior men's and junior ladies divisions. The event, hosted by the Mile High Figure Skating Association, will take place Aug. 7-9 at the Apex Ice Arena. The competition is held every August and is the only figure skating event in the country open solely to high-level, full-time college students. To qualify for the U.S. Collegiate Championships (formerly called the National Collegiate Championships), a skater must be a current U.S. Figure Skating member and high school graduate who is enrolled full time in a college or university degree program, is a recent graduate of an accredited institution, or is entering a college or university as a first-year student for the upcoming academic semester. Some skaters come from colleges who have varsity figure skating teams, while others may be the lone figure skater representing their university. Leading the senior ladies division is 2004 U.S. Collegiate champion Alissa Czisny (Bowling Green State University). Czisny won the bronze medal at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Her main competition will come from 2006 U.S. Collegiate silver medalist Erin Reed (University of Utah) and 2007 U.S. Collegiate champion Linsey Stucks (Oklahoma State University). The senior men's division is led by reigning U.S. Collegiate junior champion Taylor John Toth (University of Delaware). Toth previously competed in pairs, most recently with Minna Lee, with whom he placed seventh in the novice division at the 2007 U.S. Championships. Toth will be challenged by reigning two-time U.S. Collegiate silver medalist Michael Peters (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Michael Solonoski (Drexel University), the 2006 and 2007 U.S. Collegiate bronze medalist. The junior ladies division will feature 14 competitors, each representing a different college or university. Past U.S. Collegiate champions include 1994 Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan.