Park City figure skater takes second at solo ice dancing nationals
When Park City High School sophomore Sophia Domonoske skated onto the ice earlier this month at the U.S. Figure Skating’s National Solo Dance Final in Hyannis, Massachusetts, she wasn’t sure where she would place. She had won all of her sectional competitions in the ice dancing series’ junior division, but rumor had it she would be facing much stronger competition. Over the course of two nights earlier this month, however, Domonoske skated into a second place finish — a first for both the 15-year-old and for the Park City Figure Skating Club.
“It didn’t really set in until they called my name for the awards,” Domonoske said.
As a first-timer competing at the junior level, she had never seen the national competitors before, and didn’t know what to expect.
The competition — which coach Chris Obzansky described as “like ballroom on ice, except without a partner” — started its first of two competitions with a cha-cha, which Obzansky said played to his pupil’s strengths.
When Domonoske heard the music come on, her nerves vanished.
“I really love to perform,” she said. “I wasn’t really thinking about the elements that go into the (dance), I was more thinking of the performance, and making the judges and the audience smile.”
Obzansky said her performance was a huge success.
The Latin theme was hard for the other skaters to keep up with, but Domonoske’s obvious love for her songs translated into an infectious performance.
“When she goes out on the ice, you can feel that movement probably better than anybody she competes against,” Obzansky said. “She can really connect with the judges and sell her performance. Even if she’s a little shaky or off balance during the day, she can put out a good performance with her expression.”
Domonoske said her affinity for creating moving dances goes back into one of her first performances on the ice, when she was the scarecrow in her club’s production of Follow the Yellow Brick Road — an on-ice interpretation of “The Wizard of Oz.”
“I remember going into my jump and clapping along to the music,” she said. “And I remember the rest of the audience (clapping along), and that’s the one time skating I ever remember listening to the audience. That’s the one point that really sticks out to me that reminds me how much I like to perform to the audience.”
Domonoske’s dance to Pitbull’s “Fireball” put her in first place going into the second day of competition — the free dance — where there was no theme.
Domonoske skated to “Adagio for strings” by Albinoni.
“It wasn’t my best, but I was happy with it,” Domonoske said, reflecting on her ninth-place finish in the category.
Her short performance the day before carried her through to the second-place finish overall.
Obzansky said he is proud of Domonoske. Not just because of the silver medal she won, but because of how much she has improved.
“Last year, she barely qualified to go to nationals and this year she came in second in nationals,” he said. “It’s fun watching that progress.”
He described Domonoske’s success as a “milestone” both for the skater and for the club.
Now that the season is over, Domonoske will return to practice, where she will move up from the junior to the senior level.
She and Obzansky will soon start looking for the right music — something Domonoske can connect with.
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