Ice cold passion

After+finishing+their+routine+to+their+program+Fire%2C+Molly+Stephenson+%289%29+stands+second+in+line+as+they+skate+off+the+ice.+They+placed+second+on+this+routine.+Stephenson+started+ice+skating+in+third+grade.+Her+interest+in+skating+originated+after+seeing+skaters+at+ice+rinks.
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Ice cold passion

After finishing their routine to their program Fire, Molly Stephenson (9) stands second in line as they skate off the ice. They placed second on this routine. Stephenson started ice skating in third grade. Her interest in skating originated after seeing skaters at ice rinks.

After finishing their routine to their program Fire, Molly Stephenson (9) stands second in line as they skate off the ice. They placed second on this routine. Stephenson started ice skating in third grade. Her interest in skating originated after seeing skaters at ice rinks.

Kayla Yasuda

After finishing their routine to their program Fire, Molly Stephenson (9) stands second in line as they skate off the ice. They placed second on this routine. Stephenson started ice skating in third grade. Her interest in skating originated after seeing skaters at ice rinks.

Kayla Yasuda

Kayla Yasuda

After finishing their routine to their program Fire, Molly Stephenson (9) stands second in line as they skate off the ice. They placed second on this routine. Stephenson started ice skating in third grade. Her interest in skating originated after seeing skaters at ice rinks.

Yael Even, Staff Reporter

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Ice skating is a winter only activity for many people, but for freshman Molly Stephenson, it’s a passion she pursues all year as she spends most of her time at the McKinney StarCenter as part of the Texas All Star Synchronized Skating Team.

“I have been ice skating since third grade,” Molly said. “I was just one of those kids who would skate at the rink and see the skaters in the middle skating. I wanted to do that so I started individually.”

For many students, school is the first thing they do after leaving the house in the morning, but Stephenson begins her day at the rink.

“I get up at 7:00 a.m., stretch and I have the be at the ring at 8 for off ice hours,” Molly said. “We just run through our routines, and then we get on the ice with fifteen minutes by ourselves until the second team comes on and practices with us.”

Starting to skate while still in elementary school has led to Molly’s growth as an individual.

“Molly entering skating at 8 years old helped her develop in so many ways,” mom Nicole Stephenson said. “Physically she learned incredible balance- it’s hard to jump on thin metal blades, flexibility- they have to hold positions for long periods of time while gliding & spinning, and endurance- final routines may only be minutes but practices last hours with minimal breaks. Mentally she grew in self-confidence because she wasn’t competing against anyone but herself.

Molly’s mom isn’t the only one that saw personal growth.

“Molly used to be pretty quiet on the ice,” ice skating coach Jenn Hampton said. “She would listen, apply, and work on the skills she was learning. Since last year, she has been more vocal and involved offering suggestions to areas of the program the team was having difficulties with.  She has even helped other skaters with learning the program.”

Although the shift from competing individually to being on a team was a bit of change, it benefitted her in the long run.

“I think starting as an individual and satisfying the “I am a great skater” ideal in her head prepared her to be a strong teammate,” Nicole said. “She now has 13 other people that depend on her to know her timing, counts and positions. She knows she can do it, and is comfortable with that responsibility.”

Freshman Sarah Boutouis, one of Molly’s teammates, also used to skate individually.

“Being on a synchronized team means that you have to skate as one, rather than a group of individual skaters,” Boutouis said. “Competing individually is easier in some ways because all you have to worry about is yourself. When you’re on a team, you have to watch your teammates.”

Although skating on a team is a bit more pressure, having a friend as a teammate helps break the ice.

“Skating with Molly makes everything more enjoyable, especially competitions and shows,” Boutouis said. “Whenever I’m competing there’s always a ton of pressure. Having Molly by my side in both programs makes me feel more calm because I know that I’m not alone.”