Athlete Feature: Kendall Stennis and Zoe Scrivner


Sophia Bruce

Figure skating, is not a widely participated sport, especially in Mid-Missouri, but two students at CCHS see it as one of their joys.

There are many varieties of figure skating; you can skate solo or on a competitive synchronized skating team. The competitive synchronized skating team here in JC, is very similar to any other competitive sports team. There can be extra late or early practices, traveling, and the typical ‘blood, sweat and tears.’ Any sport this year has been a challenge because of the pandemic, but athletes are trying to push through the boundaries and are working their hardest to make their season great despite the ongoing challenges. Zoe Scrivner and Kendall Stennis both skate for the Capital Classics Synchronized Skating Team, and in this feature describe what it’s like to be a student athlete while also participating in a competitive sport.


Kendall Stennis, Freshman (14)

Sophia: When did you first begin figure skating?

Kendall: “This is my fifth season so far.”


Sophia: When did you first start synchronized skating? 

Kendall: “4 years ago.”


Sophia: What made you decide that you wanted to start synchronized skating?

Kendall: “I saw my friends doing it and I decided that I would give it a try. When I tried it, I just fell in love with the sport and continued to keep going.”


Sophia: Similar to dance, there can be themes to different routines. Do you have a favorite year/routine and why? 

Kendall: “My favorite year was my third year of synchro, and I was on the team, ‘Sensations’. Our theme was the baseball scene from High School Musical. I just think it was a really great theme and the program was super cute, I really enjoyed the choreography.”


Sophia: What is one of your favorite memories from synchronized skating? 

Kendall: “Probably our second to most recent competition that we had where we went to Ohio. We were all trapped in a car for about 12 hours, and it wasn’t ideal but I really liked that we bonded so much over that time period.”


Sophia: Do you have special rituals before you perform? Like certain hype music, a chant, etc.

Kendall: “In the locker room the whole team normally listens to a pump-up playlist that gets us super excited and hyped to preform, and right before we go out we do this hand clap chant which is kind of like our lucky charm.”


Sophia: How do you balance school and skating? 

Kendall: “I show up to the rink a lot of the time with my homework, and sit and do the majority of it there, that way I don’t have to worry about running late to practice because of schoolwork. It’s super easy for me to just do homework there and get on the ice super fast.”


Sophia: What has it been like on the team while facing the challenges of the Pandemic? 

Kendall: “It was really weird because when we first came back from our Ohio trip, eight people had COVID. It was awful and that has been a really hard challenge for our team this year. We had to cancel practice for awhile. Another problem we are facing right now is skating in masks. It’s so horrible, it’s hard to breathe and by the end of our three minute program we just want to rip them off, but we can’t.”


Sophia: What have you learned about yourself through the synchronized skating program? 

Kendall: “I learned that it’s really important to work together, and not one person can be doing all the work.”


Sophia: How has one of your coaches in the skating program influenced your life whether it be in school or out of school?

Kendall: “Our coaches aren’t just coaches, they’re trying to also help raise good human beings. They’re always telling us things about skating that we can also apply to our lives. For example, they tell us to not be overly cocky, but to be confident in our abilities as athletes. You can apply this to your everyday life, and I think it’s so cool that they are not only trying to make us better athletes and competitors, but better people.”


Sophia: What’s one thing that you would recommend to younger skaters who aspire to be on a synchronized skating team? 

Kendall: “I would always say to keep trying because there’s times that it’s going to suck and you want to give up, but you just have to keep going and to keep pushing.”



Zoe Scrivner, Sophomore (16) 

Sophia: When did you first begin figure skating? 

Zoe: “I started lessons when I was three, but my mom got me on the ice as soon as I could practically run without falling.”


Sophia: When did you start synchronized skating? 

Zoe: “My first year on the competitive team was in third grade, so I was 8. However, I did the rec teams, which aren’t competitive and just kind of introduce you to synchro, when I was 6.”


Sophia: What made you want to first start synchronized skating for Capital Classics?

Zoe: “All of the older girls did it, and I kind of wanted to be like them. Katie Lister was a girl that taught me private lessons when I was younger and was my babysitter so our families were super close, and she did synchro. So I kind of wanted to be like her and be on synchro.”


Sophia: What days do you practice synchro? 

Zoe: “On Sundays we have our normal practices where we go over the routine for the year and spend lots of time with the coaches practicing it and it’s from 5:30-8. On Mondays we have Crossfit from 6:15-7, which is essentially a team workout. And then Thursday, we have synchro skills with all the teams, which is where we work on drills and general skating and it’s about a half hour long.”


Sophia: Run us through what a competition day looks like.

Zoe: “Usually we skate in the afternoon, so we wake up around 6 a.m. to start getting ready which can be a really long process. Our skating director, Carly does our hair and makeup which takes at least 2 hours. We do our base makeup on our own, which is essentially doing our own foundation and power and easy stuff like that. We then do team makeup with Carly which can be fun if it’s the right vibe. Sometimes at a certain competition it’s not because it’s 6 a.m. and you just feel weird. We eat after makeup and hair, and get ready to go to the arena. Once we are at the rink we warm up, stretch, run through the program, and have a little Pow-Wow with our coaches. We get hype whenever it’s time to put on our skates, and we listen to music. Last year we listened to a lot of Back Street Boys because one of our old coaches loved that song. It always made everyone start out feeling really together and excited to preform. We do last minute things before competing, the coaches come out with gel and hairspray. After everyone on the team is ready and our time is up in the locker room, we walk out and go preform. After each time we preform we walk back into the locker room we are either super happy or super upset, there’s not really any in between. Usually when there isn’t a pandemic going on, we have awards either on the ice or in the stands, and it just kind of depends on whatever competition we go to.”


Sophia: What are your go-to snacks while traveling to competitions?

Zoe: “My mom always makes these pinwheel things that have like the cream cheese and meat and veggies in them, which are super good. I don’t know, hotel breakfast with plastic eggs are always a staple. Or those goodie bags that you get as a reward for coming to the competition. They have those chocolate dipped granola bars, and they go hard.”


Sophia: How do you balance school and skating?

Zoe: “I do my homework at the rink a lot of the time with another one of my close friends, Emily. Usually practice isn’t until later in the day, so it’s easier to get all my homework done before then. Sometimes when we travel to farther places, it can be especially hard to stay caught up when you are in high school. The pandemic has made it hard because everything is mostly online, but it’s not like you can do it in the car in the middle of nowhere. Although, COVID has limited us to competing almost all virtually.”


Sophia: Do you have special rituals before you preform? Like certain hype music, a chant, etc.

Zoe: “We do kind of this clapping chant that as been around forever before we go out to skate which is our good luck charm.”


Sophia: Do you have any superstitions?

Zoe: “In the beginning of our program we stand in one huge circle and hold hands, and take a deep breath together as a team. I’m holding hands with one of my best friends, Taylor, who always holds my pinky instead of my hands. It’s kind of our inside joke that we do before we skate that makes us feel better before preforming. One funny story that has kind of caused some paranoia is when it was my first year on the team, and my coach Jessica would tape our skates because we were 8, and no one could tape skates correctly at that age. She came around to my skates, and said how loose they were. So she then fixed them herself by pushing the tongue of the boot all the way back and taped it until I couldn’t move. Needless to say, the program was absolute crap because I could barely bend my knees. So I have the superstition of tying my own skates the way I like them regardless of what the coaches say, and I want to tape my own skates. I know some skaters actually enjoy when the coaches tape their skates for them, even when they are older, but I just can’t.”


Sophia: What are some challenges that your team has faced because of Covid-19?

Zoe: It’s been an absolute crazy season. When we first heard about the shut down in March, our rink was closed for a few months which kind of set us back. In terms of practices, we practice like every other sports team at school; we wear our masks but take them off once on the ice because it’s incredibly hard to breathe in them. All of our competitions have been really weird though, because we can’t have spectators (visitors) and it’s so weird preforming without a crowd. Most of our competitions have been virtual though, which is a really new thing for us. We film our routine one day, and send it in to be judged virtually. We are about to have a competition this weekend though, were we have to wear masks through the entire routine, which is going to be super difficult and weird. I’m super proud of our team though, we’ve pushed through a tough season and we’re still trying our best.


Sophia: How has one of your coaches in the skating program influenced your life weather it be in school or out of school?

Zoe: “I think skating is kept really separate from school. I’ve had some girls that I’ve skated with go to the same school as me, but in general it’s a really private sport so lots of our coaches don’t have an influence on our grades and schoolwork like other in-school coaches would have. My personal coach Rachael, has taught me to never give up. There’s times that I’m just over the sport in general and I just don’t want to do it anymore, but Rachael has always been there for me and as supported me through the tough times and has encouraged me to keep going. She’s just an amazing person and coach and she’s shaped my skating so much.  There’s been a lot of changes in the skating program, but I owe a lot to every coach in it.”


Sophia: What’s one thing that you would recommend to younger skaters who aspire to be on a synchronized skating team? 

Zoe: “I remember when I was growing up through the skating program in itself, it seemed like the older girls on the higher leveled teams didn’t want anything to do with the younger girls and so I’ve always tried to talk to the younger girls so they don’t have to feel like I did. I would say to the younger girls to not be afraid of the older girls, and to not be shy. There’s a lot of girls in the program who grew up feeling like they weren’t wanted in the program, and I don’t want anyone to feel like that who looks up to us. I think our coaches last year and this year have made a great effort in terms of trying to include the younger teams, and trying to make it one big family.”


Sophia: What is one of your favorite bonds you’ve created with another skater through Capital Classics synchro program? 

Zoe: “The longest bond I’ve had with a girl through skating in general, who hasn’t graduated or moved on is my friend Taylor. We’ve known each other forever. The coaches separate us at practice which I think is funny because we’re both 16 and we’re just extremely close. It’s a really strong bond that has been created because we travel together a lot and it’s always the thought of ‘if I’m going to the rink for practice, Taylor is going to be there’ which is really nice to know that she’s always going to be there and there is a person who you can rely on.”


Kendall and Zoe are very hardworking athletes, they dedicate most of their time doing their homework, while also trying their best at the rink. Both Kendall and Zoe show what being a dedicated athlete is all about during this stressful year: knowing that even though Covid-19 has changed school and how the competitive synchro team runs, they will still push through for their teammates and coaches, and will shine during their performances.