Macauley Lukenda makes mark on ice
First place in women’s short program at 2018 U.S. intercollegiate championships
One championship was exciting.
But to win a second was “thrilling ” for Macauley Lukenda.
The 20-year-old Sault Ste. Marie native captured first place in the women’s short program on Friday, while competing at the three-day, 2018 U.S. Intercollegiate National Figure Skating Championships in Denver, Colo.
A year ago, Lukenda, who now resides in Pewaukee, Wisc., won the national title in the long program.
“I was really excited,” said Lukenda, in her third year at Adrian College in Adrian, Mich. “It’s something I worked towards all season. My program went really well – it was perfect. I couldn’t have done it better.”
A business major with a focus in sports management, while also minoring in public relations, Lukenda spoke of how proud she was to have successful back-toback seasons.
She entered the weekend competition confident of her chances.
“I knew if I skated my best and skated clean, that I would have a pretty-solid chance of winning,” Lukenda said. “I knew if I did what I can do, I’d have a pretty-good chance of doing well here.”
And her second gold-medal performance in as many years has the Former Lake Superior Figure Skating Club member eager to chase a lofty objective.
In her senior season next year, she’d love to win both the long and short program.
“That would be the goal,” said Lukenda, who finished fifth this year in her long program.
A year ago, competing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Lukenda was second in her short program.
As a freshman in 2016, she was sixth in the long program and eighth in the short in competition at the University of Delaware in Newark, Del.
Lukenda admitted how securing a pair of first-place finishes next year “will be pretty tough. I’ll have to put in a lot of work, but it’s worth it.”
But she loves skating, she added, and is determined to have a strong senior year.
Her fifth in the long program on the weekend, Lukenda noted, was a “little disappointing. But you have bad skates every now and then. It happens.”
Meantime, beginning at age three, she began skating with the Lake Superior Club and realized how much she enjoyed the sport.
“It’s where I started,” said Lukenda, whose family left the Sault when she was 12.
Her parents, Mary-Lynne and Tim Lukenda, who’s president of the Soo Greyhounds hockey team, have been big supporters of her career, Macauley added.
While growing up skating in the Sault “the competitions were always something I enjoyed,” she said. “And Debbie Gerow was my coach. The Sault is always home to me.”
Along with her individual skating, Lukenda also captains Adrian College’s synchronized skating team. Sixteen skaters work through the elements of a program collectively.
In February, the team won a silver medal at the national championships in Portland, Ore.
Macauley Lukenda has had successful back-to-back figure skating seasons.