Two sisters in the District ice skate at national competitions. Though their styles are different, Rebecca and Shoshanna Lustig work hard on and off the ice.
Rebecca, an 8th grade Kennett Middle School student, placed fourth at the 2013 United States figure skating championships on the intermediate level. She and her ice dancing partner, Zach Milestone of Princeton, N.J., only skated together nine months before winning pewter medals at the January 25-27 competition in Omaha, Neb. After Rebecca’s old partner dropped out of skating, her mother did a form of online dating to find a new partner. Rebecca enjoys pairs skating. “I don’t get nervous competing because I’m not alone,” she said.
She and Zach advanced to nationals after winning bronze medals at the U.S. Eastern Sectional figure skating championship. Dr. Nancy Lustig, the girls’ mother, described Rebecca’s skating as ballroom dancing on ice. “It is not just spins and throws connected by skating.”
Besides doing rotations on ice, Rebecca rotates her weekly pairs practice schedule: two days in Ardmore, Pa., one in Princeton, and one at University of Delaware. She also practices by herself, which paid off at nationals where she earned her personal best score. Rebecca said she is “very focused and always working” to skate, study and participate at school. She plays trumpet in jazz band and orchestra, and French horn in honors band.
Later this month, it is older sister Shoshanna’s turn to head to national competition. Shoshanna is a junior at Kennett High School and is on University of Delaware’s junior level synchronized skating team, which is ranked second on the East Coast. “It’s like the Rockettes; 16 girls dancing on ice. It is not pretty if one girl puts her foot down at the wrong time. It affects the judging,” said Dr. Lustig.
Shoshanna has skated since she was four and enjoys the team sport. “I love skating with my best friends. Competitions are so much fun and I’m never alone on the ice.”
Besides practicing, she takes five Advanced Placement and honors courses. To juggle homework and skating practice, Shoshanna said, “I work at lunch sometimes and stay up way too late, according to my mom.” At the rink, she works on characterization and expression in her skating to reflect the long and short programs for competition.
She runs a summer camp for 3 to 5 year olds to raise money for pancreatic cancer research. After her grandmother died from the disease in 2006, Shoshanna wanted to help find a cure. She started Camp Curious in a basement with a few children. Enrollment for the summer day camp now closes in the spring when 25 to 30 children are registered. Last summer Camp Curious raised more than $17,000 for cancer research. Kennett High School students help with the camp to fulfill graduation requirements.
At school, Shoshanna participates in student council, yearbook club, Future Business Leaders of America, Humanitarian Club, National Honor Society and Quidditch.Dr. Lustig skates, too. “I’m amusing to watch, but it is a pleasure to watch the girls perform.”