Freshmen Estey Skates His Way To The National Championship

Harvard freshman Gregory Estey will be competing in the Junior Men's National Figure Skating Championship in Portland, Oregon this February.

Eighteen-year-old Estey, who has been competing for five of his 13 years as a skater, earned his place in the nationals by winning two lower championships.

He placed fourth in the New England Figure Skating Championship and then second in the Eastern competition.

Underdog

"I was an underdog going into the Easterns," Estey said yesterday, adding "My skating was a mess this fall because of the way my schedule was set up and also because I wasn't getting enough sleep."

"After the New England competition I've been mainly skating six to seven hours a day and not doing too much studying," he added.

Estey is now living at his home in Lexington because it is nearer to the rink where he practices and he says he can get more rest there. However, he said that after the Nationals he will return to his campus quarters, Thayer Hall.

Estey said the skating program he has developed with his coach Robert Black involves a two-minute compulsory short program, a four-minute compulsory long program, and various figures.

Estey said the main difference between the short and long programs is that the long program allows more freedom in executing moves.

Serpentine Footwork?

Some of the moves Estey will have to perfect for the judges include double and triple toe jumps, double flip jumps, loop jumps, flying camels, flying sit spins, triple salchows, cross foot spins and a serpentine footwork sequence.

The music Estey uses to accompany his freestyle skating incorporates different tempos to match the various speeds at which he skates during his program.

Although he has done some ice dancing with a partner, Estey said he prefers to skate alone. "There's too much aggravation in pair skating. There's usually a lot of fighting between the two skaters," he said.

Estey has no immediate plans for a future career in skating, but said he thinks he will always be involved in skating, whether professionally or in some other facet of the field. Earlier this year Estery skated in "An Evening With Champions," a skating show sponsored by Eliot House to raise money for the Jimmy Fund.

Olympics?

As for the Olympics Estey said, "I'd love to go to the Olympics but my chances are minimal. I'm not the Bobby Hackett of skating."