Ellie Kagel and Colgate’s Small but Mighty Figure Skating Team


A sociology and women’s studies double concentrator from Brooklyn, NY, Ellie Kagel has been on Colgate’s club figure skating team for all four years she’s been on campus, serving as the team’s president this year. Although Kagel did not plan on skating in college after 17 years of previous experience, she ended up returning to the sport her first year on campus. 

“When I was applying to colleges … it was a big coming of age moment. I wasn’t going to a school purely because of skating, just because I had dedicated too much time to that, but when I was a [first-year] there was a senior, and we had grown up skating together, so she basically peer pressured me into coming to the first meeting and practice,” Kagel said. 

The club figure skating team has three programs: singles, synchronized and learn to skate, all led by seniors with impressive achievements. 

“We don’t actually have a coach. For singles and synchro, we coach ourselves. We have six seniors this year and we have a person in charge of singles, a person in charge of synchro and a person in charge of learn to skate. The people who are in charge of synchro have a ton of experience and have competed nationally, and some internationally, and they basically get to choreograph a program and we get to compete with it and it’s amazing,” Kagel said. 

Even though some members of the team have years of experience skating, people of all skill levels are welcomed. 

“We have people of different levels so wherever people want to fit in and whatever people want to do, there is a place for them,” Kagel said. 

Although the figure skating team is small, competition has been a big part of the team. In prior years, the team has travelled to compete with schools including New York University, Cornell and Penn State. 

“In a non-pandemic year, we are competitive. It was a really great way to stay competitive, but it is a different type of competition, I would say, because it’s collegiate. There is way less pressure than we all had growing up. It was so nice to be able to be in school and be able to do homework and socialize with our friends, but also keep this element of ourselves that we didn’t want to let go of,” Kagel said. 

Although the team has competed against large schools and teams, Colgate’s team has proved themselves to be talented. 

“It’s funny when we get to these competitions and some schools have all these coaches and big teams and then it is little Colgate, but we are very mighty,” Kagel said. 

One of Kagel’s favorite things about the club figure skating team is its supportive community.

“That is probably one of the things I miss most this year with COVID, it’s not being able to socialize. What was so impactful for me as a [first-year] was being able to meet upperclassmen and grow these bonds with other women who were complete role models and helped me acclimate myself at Colgate. That is something that is so unique about our team because we are so close-knit,” Kagel said. 

Additionally, the team’s community provides the skaters with an important outlet amidst life at Colgate. 

“Being at Colgate, this is a very demanding institution, and having that outlet to relax, get your anger out and be in the presence of these amazing people, is something I am going to miss so much,” Kagel said. 

Although this past year was tremendously different with the pandemic and Kagel will be departing Hamilton, she wouldn’t change anything about her experience with figure skating at Colgate. 

“If I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything,” Kagel said.