Donahue and Gibson earn placement in High Performance Development Pool

Colossal, but long overdue, congratulations to Cecilia Donahue and Lilah Gibson for being placed in US Figure Skating’s Novice High Performance Development Pool!!

US Figure Skating explains, “The Athlete High Performance Development Pool (AHPDP) includes singles, pairs and ice dance athletes, as selected by U.S. Figure Skating’s High Performance Department. These athletes will have demonstrated the ability to qualify for the ISP in the near future.”

Traditionally, the AHPDP athletes are named at the conclusion of the season after a committee evaluates national and sectional performances in all disciplines. As we all know, last year was anything but traditional. In response to COVID-19, US Figure Skating cancelled the physical 2020-2021 Qualifying Season and moved all qualifying opportunities for Junior and Senior athletes to a virtual format. Unfortunately, Juvenile – Novice athletes were told there would be no national event, but their virtual opportunities would allow them to compete for a coveted spot in the AHPDP.

We reached out to Cecilia and Lilah, curious about their experience with virtual competition!

How was this event different to prepare for?

Cecilia: “Although this style of competition was different from my usual preparations before competing, it was a nice change of pace and mindset, to have multiple chances at preforming my best programs and to alleviate some pre-competition nerves and pressure.”

Lilah: “Preparing for a virtual qualifying event was different for many reasons. For me it was difficult to find the pressure of in person competition, where you are subject to not only your competitors but also the crowd and judges. It was also difficult to find open ice to film programs on.”

What’s something you enjoyed about the new process?

Cecilia: “I liked that with competing virtually, I could run and tape my programs each day to see my progress, and that I could pick the one that would give me the results I was aiming for.”

Lilah: “Something I enjoyed about preparing for a virtual competition was finally re entering the competitive season and starting to return to a more normal skating season. I am looking forward to competitions that are head to head and in person.”

Who is on your coaching team?

Cecilia: “On my coaching team, I have Svetlana Khodorkovsky and Kelly Harper, and from the Fort Wayne Skating Club, Elena Lunin choreographed my Fiddler On the Roof program, and Alex Lunin helps me with my jump technique. Off the ice, I train with Billy Moritz at Sweatbox. Thank you!!”

Lilah: “My coaching team consisted of David Ings and Annette Schaefer.”

Social Media:

If you want to follow along with Cecilia and Lilah’s journey, you can find them on Instagram: @_ceciliadonohue, @lilah_gibson, @tripletrio

CFSC is so incredibly proud of the hard work, dedication, and passion that all our athletes showed last season, and we could not be more excited to watch Cecilia and Lilah continue to crush their goals in the coming season!