PRINCETON: Princeton Skating Club’s Gock heading to nationals

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Hillsborough resident Haydn Gock

Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Haydn Gock has taken a big step forward on the ice in the past year. And with that step forward, the Hillsborough High freshman and Princeton Skating Club member has altered his ling-term figure skating goals.
“My goal is to join Team USA, so I can get to the World Championships or even the Olympics,” Gock said. “Usually you have to win a medal at nationals to be chosen, ultimately it is chosen through a committee.”
Gock will get his first chance to earn a medal at nationals when he heads to San Jose, Calif. later this month for the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championship, which will be held from Dec. 29 through Jan. 7.
Gock is in his first year competing at the Intermediate Level after previously competing at the Juvenile Level. He will compete at nationals against other top skaters under 18 years old.
“At regionals, I got a silver medal and they take the top four to go on to sectionals,” Gock said. “At sectionals I ranked in the top four so that is how I qualified for nationals. I feel like I can do much better at nationals. I am currently upgrading my technical game so I can improve that part of my routine.
“I am mainly going to get the experience. But I know I have a chance to get a medal, so I am striving to do well.”
Gock began this year’s qualifying competitive season at the North Atlantic Regional FS Championships in Hackensack, where he earned a silver medal in the Intermediate Men’s division. He then went to the Eastern Sectional Figure Skating Championships in Boxborough, Mass., where he earned a Pewter medal.
Gock is current coached by Ron Ludington, Laura Jamieson and Irina Romanova at the Delaware High Performance Skating Center, as well as taking private lessons from Trish Ziegler at Mennan Arena in Morristown and training with the Princeton Skating Club, which meets at Princeton Day School’s Lisa McGraw Rink.
Gock’s programs are choreographed by Romanova. He skates to the songs Paganini Rhapsody Caprice 24 performed by David Garrett for the short program, and Ma Dove Sei by Andrea Bocelli and David Garrett for the long program.
The highlight of his performance at sectionals came when he landed three triple jumps and three double axels in his programs to earn a berth for the US Championship at the Intermediate level. It’s been a steady progression since starting with the sport 10 years ago.
“I started skating at age 4 when my uncle brought me to try skating in Kansas,” Gock said. “I moved to New Jersey and continued skating here. I started at Flemington and changed my training site to Princeton, which is where I went from recreational to competition level with my skating.”
Gock trains five days a week, all year round. On the weekends he is usually down at the University of Delaware, while he spends three or four days a week training in Princeton.
“What I really like it the sport is aiming for that perfect moment or perfect skate which is mistake free,” Gock said. “No matter how I do, I know I can do it better. Maybe I can hold my position better or do my choreography better. I am always trying to do the best I can to improve.”
Gock joined the Princeton Skating Club four years ago and was introduced to competitive skating by his previous coach, Stan Houston, at the club two years ago.
“At Princeton Skating Club, I have met many skaters who share the love and passion of skating,” he said. “We learn from each other, no matter it if is jumping, spinning or working on improving program components. I am excited to go to San Jose, and am grateful for the encouragement that my coaches and fellow skaters at PSC have offered to me.”
At nationals, Gock will be looking to take yet another step forward with his progress on the ice.
“I have to focus on improving my component score, which is the score that judges your artistry, which is how well you express your music,” Gock said. “I have had a lot of people help me to get to this point. My mom and my coaches. I just hope to keep improving.”
The Princeton Skating Club is a community of families, athletes, and professionals united by a love of skating. From the recreational skater to the Olympic hopeful, singles to ice dancers, beginners to lifelong enthusiasts, The Princeton Skating Club offers opportunities for all skaters.
For more information on the club, visit www.princetonskatingclub.org.