Synchronizing college life with ice skating

Jewell Mason, has always found a second home on the ice at the Taylor SportsPlex.

 MCCC freshman, Mason is continuing her lifelong figure skating career in a synchronized skating team.

3 year old Jewell on the ice
Jewell Mason, 3, skates in 2005. (Photo courtesy Jewell Mason)

When she was 3, an ice skating scene came up on Mickey Mouse, Mason said. It was then she told her mom she wanted to skate.

“I have been skating very consistently in the 15 years since,” Mason said. 

Mason said she progressed from classes where she learned the basics, to private individual lessons so she could enter solo competitions. 

In all her hours on the ice, she said the most rewarding experiences are when she is skating individually, working on a challenging jump, spin or move. When she finally lands it she said she always hears the supportive praise of all her fellow skaters who have watched her progress for many years. 

Although solo skating is a category where she has experienced much success, she said she discovered synchronized skating teams when she was 8 and it has been a large focus in her training.

group skating on the ice
The evolution open juvenile team perform a synchronized skating routine. in 2019. (Photo courtesy of Jewell Mason.).

Amy Wright, coach and director of the synchronized skating program at Taylor SportsPlex, said synchronized skating, like synchronized swimming, is a when group of people perform intricate figures out on the ice in time with each other. 

As she started college, Mason progressed past the youth team and joined Evolution, the adult open synchronized skating team at Taylor SportsPlex hosted by the Skate Club of Southeastern Michigan.

“It’s a good way for people to be involved in skating and still be able to compete as adults, and have the support of teammates,” Wright said.

Mason had to scale back on skating a few years ago because she suffered a knee injury resulting in prolonged recovery, but it hasn’t stopped her, Mason said. With the support of her teammates for recovery, she plans to continue skating all her life. 

Mason is the youngest member of the team made up of female skaters ranging from 18 years old to over 50 years old, said fellow skater, Megan Brown.

Everyone brings their unique talents and weaknesses, and they help build each other up, said Jenny Gibson, Evolution coach.

“Jewell brings a positive attitude to the group,” Gibson said. “She is a team player.”

Mason would like to bring skating to MCCC. 

“I was hoping to start what we call a collegiate team, which is a college level team to represent MCCC at competitions like other colleges such as Michigan State, University of Michigan and Adrian College do,” Mason said. 

Mason said she doesn’t know the skating community at MCCC but would like to recruit.

“You don’t have to have synchronized skating experience, just know how to skate,” Brown said. 

Every Sunday night, the synchronized skating team runs it’s routine and practices skills in both on and off ice training at the Taylor SportsPlex. 

Eight full-time students are required to make an open collegiate synchronized skating team, Wright said.

Jewell Mason, 12, runs a solo skate routine at a competition in 2014. (Photo courtesy of Jewell Mason)

“We’re a lot of fun, but we like to be very competitive,” Wright said. 

Even with a full college load, Mason said she makes time for the activity she loves the most.

“Skating is very much  a comfort to me,” she said. “It’s very relaxing to me, even under the most stressful circumstances. I plan on skating for the rest of my life.”

Mason said she thinks every skater should try synchronized skating. Contact her at jmason2@my.monroeccc.edu for information.