Marlowe Perry, a freshman at Ventura College in southern California, was the surprise winner of the junior ladies event at the 17th annual U. S. National Collegiate Figure Skating Championships held in Newark, Delaware in August. Fourth after the short program after she singled her Axel, Perry blew past defending champion Christina Branom to win the long and her first national title.
“I was planning a triple toe and triple loop which were both successful in the warm-up,” Perry said. “However during the actual performance I turned them into doubles. I did two double Axels, and opened with a strong double lutz/double toe combination. Unfortunately I caught an edge in my straight-line footwork near the end of my routine and fell backwards. One of those things that only happens in competition and never in practice. I was laughing to myself when it happened in the program. I thought, ‘Of course I had to fall in footwork, I should just worry about that and not my jumps.’ It was pretty funny. It created a good memory.”
“When I found out I won the junior event, I went absolutely hysterical,” Perry continued. “I was dancing around, jumping up and down and in the moment accidentally let out a scream that I think turned one too many heads. I was really nervous when I went out to bow to the audience. When I stepped onto the podium I remember thinking to myself, is this really happening? Did I really win? It was very surreal to me, and it took awhile for it to sink in. Through the whole medal ceremony my heart was beating so fast.”
Perry said she started skating when she was seven. “On the first day I stepped onto the ice, a man that videos local competition saw me skating and told my mother that I really took to the ice and that I should look into getting some lessons. So I did.” Although no one else in her family skates, her great aunt, Joan Mitchell, competed in pairs in the 1940s. Perry herself tried out for pairs with another single skater at her rink when she was about 14. “I really liked the idea of pair skating, but we weren’t a good fit and I haven’t tried out for pairs since,” she said, adding that, “I always have been interested in dance. I absolutely love what goes into it. I just have never got around to it.”
Perry landed her first triple, a salchow, when she was 14. Her favorite jump is the loop. For this season, she is planning to do a triple toe/double toe in the short and triple loop/double loop, triple toe/double toe, and double Axel half loop double flip in the long. “Hopefully I will get what I have nice and solid and start on the triple flip and lutz, and if all goes well, I will put them in my routine for next year,” she said.
Having just moved to southern California to attend college, Perry had to switch rinks and coaches. She now trains with Jennifer Hall in Oxnard and Charlene Wong in El Segundo. Her former coach, Tracy Prussack, from San Jose was at Collegiates with Branom. “It was really nice having her there,” Perry added.
Perry skated to music by Chopin in the short and to the soundtrack from Zorro in the long. “I do almost all of my own choreography,” she said. “Every now and then I will go to Oakland, California to take from Peter Sasmore, and he helps spruce up my routines. I pick my programs by listening to all kinds of music, classical, jazz, soundtracks, and when I hear the one that I know will work, it just clicks. I love to skate to, what I call, ‘happy’ music. Something that is uplifting and fun. I really enjoy skating to musical pieces that have a story behind them. For example; West Side Story.”
“I really enjoy my long program,” she continued. “I love putting a ton of attitude and sassiness into my skating. Making cute faces, and smiling throughout the routine. Entertaining the crowd is really important to me, making sure they are having as much fun as I am when I am skating. It’s fabulous being the only one out on the ice, I feel so free and relaxed. Being able to express myself through my moves and artistry is my heaven.” She noted that her favorite skaters are Kristi Yamaguchi, Steven Cousins, and Rudy Galindo. “They all have that fun exciting spark to their skating, and I just dig that,” she explained.
Off ice, Perry enjoys “dancing, making huge photo scrap books with coloring and cut outs, talking on the phone, hanging out with my friends, and shopping. I love shopping,” she enthused. Except for playing on her school’s volleyball team in elementary school and junior high, Perry doesn’t play any other sports but she was on the Song Leading (Dance Team) at St. Mary’s High School for three years and co-captain as a senior.
She listens to alternative, soft rock, pop, and oldies music. Her favorite musicians are Aerosmith, Backstreet Boys, and Russell Watson. Her tastes in movies run to romantic comedies and drama. Some of her favorites include, When Harry Met Sally, The Shadow, Ever After, and Kate & Leopold. She likes to read books by Sidney Sheldon and said “I really liked those Harry Potter books. I couldn’t put them down.” As for hobbies, Perry said, “I have a ton of clothes, movies, and pictures. I am not sure if that counts as me collecting something, but I sure do have a huge mass of each.”
She loves to travel. Perry’s favorite trip was to London for her birthday, but she said, “Every summer I go to Kauai, Hawaii, to my father’s condo with him and the rest of the family. It’s so great there and beautiful. I always make sure I go in the summer, because I can’t go any other time of the year for there isn’t a rink on the island.”
Perry’s goals are to place in the top six at U. S. Nationals and compete in some international competitions. She is considering skating as a professional and would love to coach and do choreography for other skaters. She is currently majoring in Bioengineering at Ventura College, taking Psychology, Philosophy, Mass Communication, and Art Appreciation courses in her first semester. “I’m getting the general out of the way,” she said. “After I finish skating, I will already be in full time school at college, but I plan to go to medical school and become a doctor,” she said. “At least, that is my hope for the future.”