Capital Ice Chips bring home national championship, honor long-time bus driver’s memory

Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 2:57 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - For the first time ever, the Capital Ice Chips are national champions.

The team skated to first place on Saturday in the U.S. National Synchronized Skating Championships in Peoria, Illinois.

The Chips beat out 12 other teams for the title in the intermediate division.

Video captured the moment the Capital Ice Chips knew they were national champions.

“As soon as I heard 80 something I just knew it was good,” recalled senior Taryn Nelson.

“We got that score, and we knew that that was going to be pretty hard for anyone to beat,” added head coach Becky Gallion.

“It was just a great moment for us,” said senior Reece Theel.

A moment they’ve been working toward for years.

“I’ve been skating since I was about two years old,” said Theel. “I’ve gone to nationals for the past six years now and I have seven National Medals and all of them besides gold, so getting this last one to be gold is just awesome.”

“We were always kind of the bridesmaid,” laughed Gallion.

Now, they’re national champions.

Sunday evening, dozens of friends and family gathered to welcome them home and celebrate their historical accomplishment.

“It’s been an unbelievable last couple of months,” said Gallion. “This is a really great way to top off our 20th year and start the new season.”

It’s a season they had to tackle without their long-time, beloved bus driver, Ron Watson, who passed away last fall from cancer.

“We all had him in our hearts and minds and he’s always watching down on us,” said Theel.

“I just, I so wish we could share this with him right now. I also just felt like he was there with us too, and I just can’t, he would be just tickled about this,” added Gallion.

“He would have been so excited,” said Nelson.

And they say they can feel Ron’s presence and see his proud smile, which makes winning this national title a little extra special.

Another Bismarck team, the Connection, also brought home 5th place in the juvenile division.

You can see the national champions and other members of the Bismarck Figure Skating Club perform March 17, 18 and 19 in their annual ice show. You can find details here.