Morrisville, NC – Construction is underway on the Wake Competition Center in Morrisville, which will not only help develop sports in the area but will also be an important component of the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, also held in North Carolina.
Figure Skating Test Site
The Wake Competition Center, which will be located off of McCrimmon Parkway, is a large, multi-building sports development site. In 2020, its 113,665 square foot ice facility will host the very first Figure Skating National High Performance Development Camp.
Both the Figure Skating National High Performance Development Camp and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, to be held in Greensboro in 2020, were brought to the state as part of work by Cary-based Sports & Properties, Inc. Hill Carrow, Sports & Properties’s CEO, is the 2020 chair of the Local Organizing Committee.
“The championships have become a bigger and bigger event and we’re one of the few places that can host something that big at that time of year,” Carrow said. The championships take place between January 20 and January 26, 2020.
In past years, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships have featured competitors in five age categories, turning it into a 10 day event in the 2015 championships, also held in Greensboro. But in 2020, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will only have the top two age groups competing, which Harrow said includes all of the top athletes and champions that most spectators want to see, such as Men’s champion Nathan Chen, Ladies’ champion Bradie Tennell, Pairs Champions Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim and Ice Dance Champions Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue.
“They questioned whether the younger skaters need competition. Instead, they need more training and need high-level coaches,” Carrow said.
So during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, younger skaters will be training at the Wake Competition Center. This will be the first time U.S. Figure Skating tries this format and Carrow said it is an experiment that other championships will be measured against.
“It shows their confidence in our organizing committee and our hospitality,” Carrow said.
More than 250 skaters are expected to participate in the development camp.
Local Sports Development
The Wake Competition Center’s ice sports training facility will have two rinks, several locker rooms and a private section for the Carolina Hurricanes, who will use the center as their new permanent practice rink.
“Most importantly, unlike existing ice facilities, this will have significant seating. It is distinctly designed for spectators,” Carrow said, with more than 1,000 seats for both rinks in the ice facility. “The goal is for this to be the best ice facility in North Carolina.”
The Morrisville-based center will also contain two soccer fields, a volleyball center complete with outdoor sand courts and a gymnastics center with an adjacent training center.
“As part of its grant, this will host sports tourism events and attract people to the area,” Carrow said.
Greensboro has hosted two U.S. Figure Skating Championships already and Carrow said figure skating is growing in the state.
“You can attribute that to the Canes. The Canes lead to the growth of ice rinks and you can only grow the sport by the number of facilities available,” Carrow said. “We’ll soon have nine ice sheets just in the Triangle.”
The past national championships have also sparked an interest in figure skating, Carrow said, and the quality of training is increasing.
“We have Olympics figure skaters coaching in North Carolina now,” Carrow said.
The Figure Skating National High Performance Development Camp will take place in Morrisville from January 26 to January 29, 2020. Tickets for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro are currently for sale.
Story by Michael Papich. Photos courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating and the Wake Competition Center.