Now fully healed from an injury suffered last July, Tommy Steenberg is focused on being at his best for the upcoming U.S. Figure Skating Championships, taking place Jan. 18 – 25 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Since qualifying for Nationals with a fourth-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Championships, Steenberg has been dividing his training time between Fairfax, Va. and Wilmington, Del.
“I’m the only skater in Fairfax training for Nationals,” said Steenberg, 20, who lives in Annandale. “There are a bunch of kids in Wilmington that are getting ready for the event. I think it’s nice for me to be in that environment where we’re all kind of in the same boat and are running programs.”
Steenberg is training at the historic Skating Club of Wilmington, where Olympic medalists such and Kitty and Peter Carruthers trained in the early 80s. Also on the ice these days are fellow U.S. senior man Shaun Rogers and senior ladies Blake Rosenthal and Ashley Wagner of Alexandria.
“It’s great. There’ll be like 12 people on the ice doing triples,” Steenberg said.
In addition to Easterns, Steenberg did his first senior international competition last fall, the Karl Schaefer Memorial Trophy in Vienna, Austria, where he placed seventh. “I might have been the only skater to rotate everything in both programs. I made some mistakes, but both performances were full out, no regrets,” he said.
“I was in the final warm-up group for the free skate. That was nice,” he added.
He feels this season’s programs have been stronger since Easterns. “I’m excited,” said Steenberg. “I’ve been doing some really good run-throughs. I want to get in as many as possible, obviously, before Nationals, so I can feel prepared. I’m on a good track.”
This will be Steenberg’s fourth Nationals at the senior level, and he’s hoping to take another step up the ladder.
“I’d say last year I did two solid performances and placed ninth, which was five places up from the year before; it was great,” he noted. “This year, I think I can do more than that – more than just doing good programs – skating to my full capacity, like I do in practice sessions. I want to be able to show at Nationals the quality of landings.
“I haven’t really delivered at competitions what I’ve been doing in practice. I think part of that is because of the foot injury (fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot). At the beginning of the year, I didn’t really have much time to train the programs. Since Easterns, I’ve had some time. I want to do two very clean programs at Nationals this year,” Steenberg said.
“For placement, I would love to be in the final warm-up group for the free skate. That would be a new feel for me. Last year, I was in the middle group going into the long program. To take another step up would be awesome.”
Steenberg’s free skating program is set to music from the ballet “Don Quixote.” He’s stoked that the Mariinsky Ballet (formerly the Kirov) will be performing “Don Quixote” at the Kennedy Center. He and Coach Audrey Weisiger will go together to see it.
“It’s the week before I leave for Nationals,” he said, “so it’s awesome timing.”