UK freshman skates to gold at U.S. collegiate championships

August 5, 2013 

Farah Sheikh has not yet started school at the University of Kentucky, but she represented the Big Blue in a big way over the weekend.

Sheikh (pronounced Shake) won the senior ladies title at the U.S. Figure Skating Collegiate Championships in De Pere, Wis.

Sheikh, making her debut at the collegiate nationals, won the title with a total of 113.29 points. The 18-year-old was in second place after Friday's short program but rallied Sunday in the free skate to win the gold over 21 other competitors.

"I am pleased with how I did and that I fought through the entire program," Sheikh said in a news release. "I committed to everything I did and enjoyed each moment of my program."

Sheikh skated a program to the music of Carmen that included a double Lutz-double toe-double loop combination, a securely landed double Axel, a huge double loop, and a double Axel-double toe.

Marquette sophomore Ola Czyzewski took the silver medal with a score of 112.69.

Delaware freshman Courtney Taylor, the leader after the short program, won the bronze with a score of 111.15.

Sheikh, a Lexington native, says she plans to major in biology at UK, specifically on a pre-med track. She has been a competitive skater for 13 years, following in the footsteps of two older sisters who have also competed nationally.

Sheikh, who called winning the competition "a huge goal of mine," said she took great care to let everyone at the nationals know from where she came.

"As a future student at UK, I wore Wildcat swag on all the practices and even during the award ceremony to represent University of Kentucky," Sheikh said in an email.

After scoring a 40.74 for second place in the short program, Sheikh said she was "really pleased" and could have gone home happy then knowing she performed as well as she did.

Instead, she found her way to gold, and the event's $5,000 grand prize. She said she hopes to put her winnings toward a bio-ecosystems study abroad in Australia this fall.

The U.S. Collegiate Championships are held every summer and are the only figure skating event in the country open solely to high-level, full-time college students.

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