Weekly Feature

2017-12-27 / Lifestyles

Pair to compete in U.S. Figure Skating Championships

by HOLLY N. LIPKA Reporter

Noah Lafornara and Macy Halim perform on the ice at the Northtown Center in Amherst. Noah Lafornara and Macy Halim perform on the ice at the Northtown Center in Amherst. Amherst Skating Club duo Noah Lafornara and Macy Halim, both 13, will compete in the Juvenile Dance Event at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California, Dec. 29 through Jan. 8.

“Our goal was to get to nationals this year, and just to see all of their hard work and dedication pay off is exciting,” said Jeannie Lafornara, skating coach and Noah’s mom.

Only 12 pairs in the country qualify to compete at the juvenile level. To qualify, skaters must place in the top four spots at the Eastern, Midwestern, or Pacific Coast sectionals.

Noah and Macy teamed up as a pair in July 2016 and competed in the 2016 Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships, which are held in November. The competition includes skaters from New England, North Atlantic and South Atlantic regions. Out of 13 pairs, they placed fifth.

“Even though they didn’t qualify for nationals, I saw how well they did in such a short amount of time, and we all knew we had a special partnership and look on the ice,” said Lafornara.

The pair decided to compete again in this year’s Eastern sectional and placed second, qualifying them to advance to the U.S. Championships.

While they didn’t know each other well before pairing up, today they’re inseparable. Macy said she enjoys skating with Noah since they’ve established a great friendship.

“It’s harder with a partner, but it feels more comfortable,” said Macy. “I like that it’s challenging too. There’s always something new to learn.”

At nationals, the duo will perform three programs: the fox trot, cha-cha and one program they choreographed themselves. The pair will perform lifts, spins and side-by-side footwork to the songs “The Long and Winding Road,” “All You Need is Love” and “Love Me Do,” all by the Beatles.

“I think that you want not only the judges, but the crowd to relate to the program you’re doing,” said Lafornara. “We thought the Beatles was nice because everyone loves Beatles music and can relate to it. While it’s more mature, there’s a lot of fun and lightness to it.”

The U.S. Championships annually attract more than 1,500 athletes, coaches and officials, as well as families, friends and figure skating fans from around the world. It will be broadcast live on NBC and stream live online on icenetwork.com.

“I’m incredibly proud of the two of them,” said Lafornara. “It’s nice to see how they’ve developed skating-wise, but also how they’ve developed as a team, their dedication and concern for each other as human beings. It’s a nice friendship, and I think that’s why they’ve been able to accomplish so much in a short amount of time.”

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