Senior competes for gold on nationally-ranked synchronized skating team


Photo Courtesy of Bella Yaggie

Yaggie and Team Braemar maintain their success as the highest placing team from Minnesota for the 11th consecutive year.

For senior Bella Yaggie, synchronized skating is not only a fun pastime but also a lifetime dedication. It has always played a huge part of Yaggie’s life, and she loves going to the rink every day and has never grown tired of skating. She currently competes on a nationally-ranked synchronized skating team from Edina that recently qualified to represent the United States in Milan, Italy. “I’m not sure if I was walking first or skating first,” Yaggie said.

Yaggie participates on a junior-level synchronized skating team from Edina: Team Braemar. Her team recently traveled to Milan, Italy for the 2014 Spring Cup representing the U.S. and took second place to Finland. In preparation for the international competition, Yaggie fervently practiced six days a week, four plus hours a day at the Braemar Ice Arena. In this season alone, Yaggie has also traveled to Illinois, Wisconsin, Chicago. Considering the success of her current team, these will not be the last places she visits for figure skating. “I think [synchronized skating] is so frustrating but so rewarding, [and] it’s just been so much fun. I love going to the rink every day. I’m never unhappy when I’m skating. It’s just something I’ve never grown tired of,” Yaggie said.

Synchronized skating has contributed to some of Yaggie’s proudest moments. She recalls the competition in Chicago, where her team wasn’t expected to receive a high score. “When they announced our scores, we were all screaming, [and] it was the happiest moment of my life. It was so surreal,” Yaggie said.

While participating at the 2014 Spring Cup in Italy, she realized how gratifying the opportunity was and was amazed at how much children looked up to her team, for instance, when a group of young girls asked her and her teammates for autographs. “We walked out of the locker room, and they just ran up to us and asked for our signatures. I realized how cool it was that we weren’t just representing our private team anymore,” Yaggie said.

“[She] is one of the most dedicated, determined, driven and hard working skaters I have ever met.””

— Teammate Jillian Christie

Regardless of her team’s prestige in the world of synchronized skating, Yaggie has pushed herself and has become both an exceptional player and a motivation to her teammates. She has clearly made the sport a top priority in her life and keeps everyone on track and optimistic. “Bella was the glue to our team this year, always keeping everyone happy, upbeat and positive. [She] is one of the most hardworking, determined, driven and hard working skaters I have ever met. She rarely missed a practice, and when she did, she made sure that she learned what she missed before stepping on to the ice the next day. Even during the toughest times and most challenging practices, Bella always had a smile on her face,” teammate Jillian Christie said.

Yaggie and Team Braemar take immense pride in this season’s accomplishments. Despite earning seventh place overall at the competition in Colorado Springs, the team is planning to learn from their mistakes at their last skate and do even better next year. “Team Braemar is focused on continued improvement and to regain our National title and spot on the World Team. We are very excited for the next season, and we hope to build on what we accomplished this past year,” Christie said.

Through vigorous training and advices from her coaches, Yaggie looks forward to refining her skills along with her teammates. Although she is not fully determined on her future plans for synchronized skating, Yaggie is set on skating throughout college. Team Braemar will only grow stronger, and Yaggie is sure to aid her teammates in many more victories and onto the world stage in years to come. “It was a good season, [and] we’re really happy with ourselves,” Yaggie said.