Students head to World Skating Championship

UIC student Jared Rugen and figure skating partner Emma Trent at the 2015 National Roller Figure Skating Championships in Albuquerque, NM

UIC student Jared Rugen and figure skating partner Emma Trent at the 2015 National Roller Figure Skating Championships in Albuquerque, NM

To find success in skating, “you’ve got to stay focused,” says Jared Rugen.

Rugen, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, has only been artistic roller skating — a sport similar to figure skating but on roller skates — for three years, but he’s already earned a berth on Team USA to compete in the 2015 World Roller Figure Skating Championships. He and his partner, Emma Trent, are skating in the international roller figure skating competition in Cali, Colombia, which began Tuesday and runs though Sept. 27. The event features nearly 1,500 athletes from 30 countries.

Rugen has managed to master the art of balancing schoolwork with his passion for skating. He spends a lot of time working on homework during his commute to the Lynwood Roller Rink.

“Anything that I don’t need Internet for I usually do on the train, traveling back and forth from the rink,” he said.

While he admits that balancing school with skating can be challenging during finals week, overall he hasn’t found it difficult to stay on top of his work.

“If I don’t stay focused, then I usually fall behind,” he said.

From using inline skates to quad skates, Rugen rose to nationals at a rapid pace, placing at the national level all three years that he has been skating. Trent, his partner, goes to the University of Missouri but travels to Lynwood to skate with Rugen on weekends and during school breaks.

Rugen and Trent competed in the 2015 National Championship in New Mexico in July, receiving world qualifying scores and taking fourth place. They were not placed on Team USA at first, but when another team dropped out, they were offered the spot. They took on the challenge of facing last-minute preparations with help from their coach, John Peck, owner of the Lynwood Roller Rink.

“Luckily, my coach has been there a few times, so he kind of knows the ins and outs,” Rugen said.

Rugen, who is majoring in entrepreneurship, said he looks forward to the competition as an opportunity for growth.

“I’m going there for the experience and to plan for the next one.”