Melissa Walsh

Farms Teen Earns Buzz in U.S. Figure Skating

Grosse Pointe Magazine | January 2018 | Grosse Pointe Magazine - Jan.-Feb. 2018

Gpm figurestater mw

Farms Teen Earns Buzz in U.S. Figure Skating By Melissa Walsh

Following a regular three-hour practice Emilea Zingas’ energy was not tapered as she sat in the figure skating office at St. Clair Shores Civic Arena to speaking happily about her success in earning a spot in the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Nationals competition in San Jose, California, Dec. 29 to Jan. 7.

“I’m so excited,” says Zingas. “And I’ve been training really hard. My coaches are pushing me really hard. I’ve never been more motivated, never wanted anything more.”

In the U.S. Figure Skating Midwestern Sectionals in November, the 15-year old Grosse Pointe South High School student and Farms resident — skating to “Fireball” by Pit Bull — earned the nation’s highest score in the novice ladies short program, edging out her opponents by six points ahead for first place. Her long program score, however, landed her in second place overall, less than one point from first place, which went to Chicago’s Ariela Masarsky.

“I compete against her all the time,” Zingas says.

“The two of them have been neck and neck all season,” says Zingas’ coach, Lindsay O’Donoghue, a resident of the Park. “I would say the two are the top contenders for nationals.”

Zingas calls the community of elite figure skaters “friendly.”

“Obviously we’re competing in a really intense environment,” she says. “Because everyone’s really focused on themselves. But you talk to each other. You congratulate each other.”

“I had a wonderful short program. It was the best it could be,” she says. “My long program started out really, really well. I landed the triple lutz, landed the triple flip. My footwork was great. Landed triple sow, double toe. Then I stepped into the wrong spin.”

Program components are planned and shared with judges prior to competition. And the error set her off the music a bit, which she found her way back into with another spin.

After she made her first two jumps in the short program, which consists of three main elements, Zingas’ mom, Marsha, knew her daughter earned a great score.

“She really nailed the short program, in a way I’ve never seen her do before. It was fabulous,” says Marsha Zingas.