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2009 U.S. Collegiate Championships start Thursday

Jason Wong leads the senior men after the short program at the 2009 U.S. Collegiate Championships.
Jason Wong leads the senior men after the short program at the 2009 U.S. Collegiate Championships. (Michelle Harvath)

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(07/29/2009) - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The 2009 U.S. Collegiate Figure Skating Championships will take place July 30-Aug. 1 in Ardmore, Pa. Approximately 60 skaters will vie for titles in the senior ladies, senior men's and junior ladies divisions at the event, which is being hosted by the Philadelphia Skating Club and Humane Society.

The competition is held every summer and is the only figure skating event in the country open solely to high-level, full-time college students. To qualify for the U.S. Collegiate Championships, formerly called the National Collegiate Championships, a skater must be (1) a current U.S. Figure Skating member and high school graduate who is enrolled full-time in a college or university degree program, (2) a recent graduate of an accredited institution or (3) entering a college or university as a first-year student for the upcoming academic semester. Some skaters come from colleges who have varsity figure skating teams, while others may be the lone figure skater representing his or her institution.

Leading the senior ladies division is 2008 U.S. Collegiate silver medalist Amy Nunn from the Metropolitan State College of Denver. Nunn will be challenged by 2009 Southwestern Regional champion Tatyana Khazova, who represents Colorado College.

The senior men's favorite is defending champion Jason Wong of Emmanuel College. Wong won the bronze at the 2009 Eastern Sectional Championships and finished 17th at the 2009 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships. His challengers include Drexel University's Michael Solonoski, who won the 2008 U.S. collegiate bronze medal, and the College of Denver's Osadolo Irowa, who competed in the 2008 U.S. Championships at the junior level.

The junior ladies event will feature 13 competitors, each representing a different college or university.

Past U.S. collegiate champions include 1994 Olympic silver medalist Nancy Kerrigan and reigning U.S. champion Alissa Czisny.

U.S. Figure Skating

U.S. Figure Skating is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union. U.S. Figure Skating is comprised of more than 700 member clubs, collegiate clubs, and school-affiliated clubs and more than 900 registered Basic Skills skating schools representing approximately 170,000 members. U.S. Figure Skating is charged with the development of the sport on all levels within the United States, including athletes, officials, sanctioning of events and exhibitions, and establishing the rules and guidelines by which the sport is governed.