Weston's Jillian Belluck is carving quite an impression into the ice skating scene these days.
This is Belluck's 11th year as part of the Skyliners synchronized ice skating team, and her teams have won the National Synchronized Skating Championships five times. Her teams have also won the Eastern Regional Synchronized Skating Championships eight times.
Synchronized skating features 16 skaters on the ice at the same time, doing fast and complex choreographed programs that include spins, spirals, twizzles, whip intersections, wheels, circles, lines ... and death spirals.
Yikes! And you thought figure skating wasn't a tough sport?
There is plenty of grace and beauty in figure skating, and Belluck puts the art of figure skating on display at quite a high level.
Belluck is a U.S. Figure Skating gold medalist in Moves in the Field and she has achieved the silver medalist level in Ice Dance.
This standout on the ice has skated since she was about 4. At the time, her family lived in Massachusetts, and she skated mostly at the rink at Babson University.
June Clark is Jillian’s individual coach, teaching mostly at Chelsea Piers Connecticut and Stamford Twin Rinks. Her current Skyliners coaches are Josh Babb, a Canadian junior ice dance champion who directs skating for Skyliners, and Pam May, who coached a successful team in Minnesota before joining Skyliners.
Belluck and the Skyliners Junior team, which has been selected to represent the United States in international competitions as part of Team USA, skates a short program to a version of “Memory” from Cats and a long program to a medley from Moulin Rouge.
In the first international competition of the season, the California Cup in Irvine, California, in November, her team won the silver medal. In its first domestic competition of the season, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in December, her team won the gold medal.
Belluck's team won the gold medal at the Britannia Cup, an international in Nottingham, England. They were competing against teams from England, France, Italy, Finland, the Netherlands, and other American teams.
Still ahead this winter are the French Cup in Rouen, France; and the National Championships in Providence, Rhode Island. If the team qualifies, it will also compete in the World Synchronized Skating Championships in England in March.
Belluck, a Weston High junior, was recently selected as one of 10 figure skaters in the country to win the U.S. Figure Skating Scholastic Honors Team award. This award recognizes high achievement in skating, academics, and community service. It includes a scholarship and $1,000 donation to the charity of Jillian’s choice. She has chosen to donate the money to KEYS Music, an organization that provides music instruction to underprivileged children in Bridgeport, because Jillian is a KEYS volunteer who helps teach piano.